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Lara Rosales

January 26, 2020

The word internship is used one too many times in the professional world and you should pay attention to it. Why are internships so important? Why should you be part of one?

If you look up the word internship in the dictionary, you will come up with many definitions that relate to the word intern; therefore, you find yourself having to look up that word instead. However, there is one definition that describes internship in the perfect way: "any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession." That is exactly what an internship is and that is exactly why you should definitely participate in one. They are the perfect resume builders.

Any job, whatever job you want to do, will ask for experience. Some of them ask for a few months; others go as far as asking for at least five years. You look at your resume and see that your experience comes, mostly, from things you had done while you were in college. Maybe all you have is a position in customer service or a job of the sort. That is when you freak out and you wonder how you will manage to come up with five years of experience. But that is exactly why we have internships.

People, especially those who are responsible for their own bills, are afraid of internships. Internships –for the most part– are unpaid jobs. Companies hire people (either college students or recent graduates) to perform certain tasks without pay. In return, you build up the experience you need to get those jobs that will help you achieve your career goals. Even though the “no pay" part is scary, you have to remember that internships are worth it. You need that experience and, most of the time, that is the only way you will get it.

The advice that most teachers and most recent graduates give students is to try and find as many internships as you can while you are still in college. Use those semesters –however many there are– to reach out to companies that do the kind of work you want to do. Chances are that the majority of them are looking for an intern. Become that intern. Listen to what they say and learn from professionals who want you to succeed. Being involved in different projects and helping out with whatever they need, will be the best practice and experience you can get.

If you have any questions as to what kind of internships you can do or where to find them, do not hesitate to ask your teachers or fellow college students. They will be the ones to introduce you to the professional world and networking is always very important. You can also ask them for any advice they may have regarding how to stand out while being an intern and how to take the next steps to jumpstart your career. It is important that you remember everyone has to start somewhere and it is not bad to ask for help when you need it.

I graduated nearly two years ago and I managed to do two internships while I was a student. My only regret? That I did not do more. I wish I had been part of more internships but I am so happy I did the ones I was able to find. Because of those two companies that gave me the opportunity to learn and grow, I am now about to start a job that will bring me a step closer to where I want to be. So, go for it! Apply for that internship and take a chance; do it for your career.