What Does It Mean To Be an Intern?
When you think of the word intern, unpaid work, fetching coffee and running errands may come to mind. All these thoughts may be correct, but think of the true purpose of being an intern and the positive aspects of being one.
Being an intern is doing some sort of job at a workplace, usually unpaid, in exchange for experience or school credit. It’s a win-win situation for both the employer and the intern, as the employer benefits by receiving free labour and the intern benefits by gaining first-hand experience in an industry they may be interested in pursuing while gaining valuable work experience and skills. In addition, it’s experience you can put on a resume and is a stepping stone for future career opportunities. It’s also a great way to make contacts and networks within that industry. Who knows? That internship could even turn into a job – a reason why students (or even those who have already graduated from school) take on internships.
The reality is that if you graduate from a university or college and are about to enter the workforce, having that certificate, degree or diploma just doesn’t cut it these days. Employers are more interested in seeing the practical experience in the industry and internships allow you to gain that practical experience and skills.
At times as an intern, you may think the tasks you are being given is menial. Just remember that it’s important to take it with a grain of salt, as it is really your foot in to your chosen industry. It’s a great way to learn about the various positions in the organization, the company culture and even if that chosen career path is really for you.
It’s also important to make the most out of your internship, meaning that you do more than just the tasks and duties that are given to you. This is your opportunity to shine, so take advantage of it. It’s important to be proactive. Maybe you have some ideas you want to contribute or maybe you are interested in assisting in other roles. Make sure you express this to the manager you report to or work for. They may be impressed with what you have to offer and can see that you are indeed valuable to the company. This great for future job prospects in that organization.
It’s also important to know your worth. There are many times that interns are taken advantage of and are used only for menial work that may not have much value to you. Be clear about your goals to the organization offering you the internship and what skills you want to gain from the experience. The internship has to be beneficial for both parties.
What is the best way to find internships? Sometimes your college or university may help find them for you. You can also search online for internships. Do a Google search for companies in your industry, find out the main contacts and reach out to them saying that you are interested in interning for them.
Internships truly do open up many doors for you so take advantage of them. Good luck!