Why Internships are Vital to Your Degree and Your Future

Posted: October 09, 2023 | Author: Madelyn Bushman | Read Time: 3 minutes

A student intern smiles into the camera with her coworkers in the background.

Internships are the perfect opportunity to get hands-on experience alongside your courses or once you have graduated. And not just for your education at Southern Utah University (online or on-campus), but everywhere. Employers are increasingly valuing experience in their hiring decisions. 

An internship is a work position offered by an organization for a limited period of time. Internships may be paid or unpaid. 

Whether you are just starting or nearing the end of your degree, we highly encourage you to look into internships–here’s why. 

Real-World Experience

Internships are the best way to gain real-world experience that aligns with your career goals. Most traditional college students finish their degree with little to no experience in the field. Internships allow them to develop skills and first-hand experience. Other students may already have additional life and work experience and are seeking a degree to help them pivot into a new career field. For these students, internships are just as valuable.

Going into a new job with little experience other than what you learned from your college courses can be scary. Internships expose you to new people, settings and situations that allow you to build confidence in your abilities. 

Vision of the Industry and Career Path

As you are going through your classes and learning more about your degree and industry, it might be helpful to intern at a company within the industry to gain a clear vision of what your career path might look like. Not only does this give you the chance to get experience with the skills and knowledge you might need for the role, but it can also help you refine your career goals. Sometimes, you need to be in the field to know if it is the right path for you. 

Competitive Edge

In most industries, it’s hard to find a job right off the bat with no experience. It’s a competitive job climate out there right now. As you are building your resume, think about applying for internships to give you that competitive edge that will set you apart from other applicants in your future job search. You also can negotiate higher starting wages because of that experience. 

Some internships lead directly to jobs, as there is a possibility of employers extending job offers to the interns they trained and worked with. This puts you ahead of the competition as you have already found a position that satisfies your career interests and goals. 

Make Connections 

Internships allow you to make valuable connections. The relationships that you create during your internship could prove vital as you seek references or leads for the best job opportunities upon finishing your degree. These connections can also help you by providing valuable feedback and information on the job.

Don’t be shy or afraid to ask questions and introduce yourself to professionals at all levels and from numerous departments. They can be great resources for advice and mentorship. After your internship, it can be useful to use LinkedIn as an opportunity to solidify those connections. 

SUU Resources

The Career and Professional Development Center at SUU has tools to help students locate internship opportunities. Students can also earn college credit for internships whether paid or unpaid.

Tags: CurStu Student Life Online Career Center

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