Internships are crucial to career success. Even as an online student, you can take advantage of internship opportunities and be on your way to earning credit, gaining experience, and making connections in your desired industry.
Why should you consider an internship? Here are my top five reasons.
1. You gain experience.
Just like the chicken and the egg, it’s sometimes confusing to think of which thing comes first: the job or the experience. Because in order to land the job, you need the experience. But if you’ve never had a job in the first place, you probably have limited—or sometimes non-existent—experience. How do you get experience without a job? Answer: by completing an internship and building up your résumé.
2. It gives you the opportunity to network.
As an intern, you begin to build your brand and reputation within an industry. It is important to start cultivating this network. At your internship, try to get involved in as much as possible and meet as many people in leadership positions as you can. Many internships have a mentor program where you are paired up with someone specifically. If yours doesn’t, ask if there is someone you can be matched up with to mentor you. These relationships can last well beyond the short internship experience and can be invaluable down the line.
3. Interning can help you learn more about your career goals.
It is just as important to figure out things that you don’t like doing as it is to find your true fit. Internships let you get hands-on experience and real exposure to a job field, industry, position, or company. Basically, interning lets you try before you buy. If an internship isn’t a good fit for you, just finish it out and leave with good experience, a résumé bullet, and the knowledge that you want to move in a different direction.
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4. It can help you land a full-time position.
Often internships turn into full-time positions, either right away, after graduation, or down the road. I have seen many students complete an internship in their senior year and then go right into a full-time position with the company. Many companies use internship programs as their talent pipeline. It allows them to see the new pool of future employees and see who is the strongest candidate, almost like a working interview.
5. It can give you a sense of accomplishment.
Securing a prestigious or competitive internship at a top company can be a huge résumé builder. Being offered a full-time position upon completion of an internship (whether or not you take it) speaks volumes about you. It indicates to future employers that you were competent and professional during your internship—and that could be a big selling point.
Johnson & Wales University is unique in that it is very career-focused and already has strong relationships with employers. As an online student, you have access to the same services as an on-campus student, so make sure to connect with the career services department for answers to all of your internship questions. For specific questions about your degree program and to learn which options are available to you, contact your advisor.
#HireJWU: Learn more about JWU Career Services
When you do land an internship, my best advice is to treat every day like a job interview. Even if you don’t like it, even if you feel like it is beneath you, it is important to work hard. If this ultimately is not the company that you want to work for, that’s ok. But always remember that a job well done is usually rewarded with a recommendation, so always strive to make a good impression. As they say, it’s not what you know but who you know.
Want to learn more about earning your online degree from Johnson & Wales University? Complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.