Internships are one of the most crucial work experiences you can receive while still in school.
Whether you’re a high school student, in college as an undergraduate, or pursuing a graduate degree, an internship will help you pursue your career interests.
Understanding summer internships will help you make a better and more informed decision about which avenue you should pursue.
There are a whole host of differing internship options available to students and recent graduates.
Things have changed in that sense as career dynamics have begun to shift.
In recent years, employers have come up with creative ways to attract interns.
In addition to an increase in paid internships, employers have started to offer differing timeframes.
How do Summer Internships Work?
Summer internships, as their name suggests, are internships held over the summer months.
These typically run from the end of June through the end of August.
Summer internships usually coincide with the end of a student’s semester.
That allows ample time for the student to intern full-time with the employer.
Summer internships often last between eight and twelve weeks.
As they are more prone to be full-time, they are especially attractive to students on a traditional semester calendar.
These traditional semester calendars run for fifteen-weeks during the fall and spring seasons.
That shorter timeframe allows an intern to gain a useful, real-world amount of information without unnecessary fluff and information.
Additionally, internships are an excellent way for students to make a bit of extra cash over the break.
With more-and-more employers offering paid internships – which average nearly $13 an hour – students can save for the upcoming fall semester.
If an employer doesn’t offer pay for an internship, students can apply those hours to academic credit.
With the ever-increasing costs of college, being able to receive academic credit serves as an indirect payment.
There’s a Whole Bunch of Reasons to Look for an Internship
A common refrain we hear from recent graduates and entry-level professionals is that you need to have previous experience to get additional experience.
With many entry-level positions requiring a certain number of years of that experience, it can be difficult just to get your foot in the door.
That is one reason why internships are so important.
They provide students and recent graduates with a level of real-world experience that becomes invaluable when included on a resume when it comes time to apply for full-time positions.
What is an Internship? The New Entry-level Job
In recent years, many entry-level positions have been replaced by industry-specific internships.
Students are expected to engage in one within their years at a college or university and then utilize the practical, real-world skills they’ve picked up so they can land a full-time position after graduation.
Internships Help Build Out Your Network
As a student or recent graduate, your list of professional connections may be small.
While you should have a sufficient network via family, friends, fellow students, and professors, you will want to grow out your professional contacts as soon as possible.
By interning at a company within your industry, you’ll be able to build relationships and rapport with your co-workers.
Those colleagues likely have years’ worth of industry knowledge and connections, which you can leverage in your job search.
Internships allow a student to liaise directly with career professionals and develop a working relationship with them.
So long as you show yourself to be hardworking and committed, your newly found connections will be happy to help you along your career journey.
Building out your career network is extremely important and also why we’ve discussed leveraging LinkedIn from the beginning of your career.
LinkedIn will help you to maintain contact and status with both current and former colleagues.
Internships Look Great on Your Resume
When you ask yourself what is an internship, it’s important to remember they’re more than just an opportunity to gain experience and contacts.
On average, a recruiter will spend just six seconds scanning a resume.
After putting much effort into compiling your resume, you’ll want to impress them in that short time and compel them to reach out to you for an initial call.
However, without substantial experience on your resume, you will likely have a more difficult time attracting the recruiter’s attention in the first place.
An internship provides a level of authority and clout to your resume.
It shows that you have real-world, industry-specific knowledge.
Internships Help You Confirm Your Career Choice
Many students opt to major in a subject and cotton on too late that they’re simply not interested in it.
This realization can be avoided altogether by interning.
As an intern, you will work directly on the topics and subjects you study.
That will afford you the opportunity to determine whether or not you’re genuinely interested in the job.
Working as an Intern Gives You Confidence
Unfortunately, many recent graduates lack confidence in their skills and abilities.
For many of them, a full-time position may be their first level of experience in a corporate setting.
That confusion and lack of direction can be detrimental to their long-term career.
When interning, most employers understand that a student may still be learning.
Many internships offer training and guidance to help participants learn and understand the rules and etiquette within a corporate setting.
Internships Can Lead to A Full-Time Job Offer!
One of the best reasons to pursue internships during college is, more often than not, it can lead to a full-time offer from your temporary employer.
Organizations utilize internships as a barometer for upcoming graduates.
If you’re hired as an intern and make a name for yourself, you stand a very good chance of receiving a full-time offer contingent on graduating.
In fact, one recent study indicated that 67% of interns received or expected to receive a full-time offer at the completion of their internship.
That 67% also stated that they were planning on accepting the offer.
In addition, 6% of interns said they expected or already received a full-time offer but were not going to accept.
Graduate Interns are in Demand
As a graduate student, whether you’re pursuing your master’s or doctorate, you may find real-world experience through an internship.
Companies are especially eager to offer internship opportunities to graduate students who have shown themselves skilled and adept in their field of choice.
As graduate degrees are typically much more specialized, you’ll find that companies will be more eager to offer you internship opportunities.
Opening Employment Doors for Undergraduates
As an undergraduate student, it is absolutely crucial that you find an internship in your field of study because it will open doors.
The knowledge you gain will be invaluable once you begin to look for a full-time position.
Also, interning at a company that is directly correlated with your degree or major of choice may help you to land a full-time offer there.
It’s a win-win.
Internships for Career Changers
One of the best ways to begin a new career is to intern somewhere.
If you are unhappy or feel ill-suited within your current company or industry, interning will allow you to be exposed to new concepts and career opportunities.
Many companies are wary of hiring career-changing professionals with multiple years of experience on their resumes.
If you’re serious, though, you should attempt to allay the interviewer’s fears and let them know that you are fully ready to make the leap to new things via an internship.
How Old Do I Have to Be to Sign up as an Intern?
One of the most frequent questions we get asked is how old do you have to be to get an internship?
Getting an internship is no easy feat and requires hard work, perseverance, and commitment on your end.
The good news?
There’s no set age limit on being an intern.
Most companies will require that an intern be a student at an accredited school and working towards a degree, and state and federal age regulations apply.
Still in High School? There’s an Internship for That!
There are many internships available for high school students!
Most don’t take advantage of the internship opportunities available to them, but having an internship on your high school resume or college application can help tremendously.
Having internship experience shows colleges and universities that you’re a serious applicant, driven, and hard-working.
Furthermore, working as an intern will help you decide which major you would like to focus on.
If you intern at a healthcare company but don’t find the work particularly suited to you, you can switch your major to another degree or industry.
How Many Hours A Week Do Interns Have to Work?
Paid internships are becoming more popular with employers, but even if you’re working for free, you may be wondering how many hours a week you’ll be expected to toil.
While the Federal government sets some standards for interns, including what is and isn’t considered a paid internship, they have not yet specified any work hours standards.
An internship, regardless of payment or compensation structure, is considered a working job.
As such, the hours set will be determined between the employer and employee.
Most organizations understand that interns typically juggle multiple schedules.
Your Internship Working Hours Can Depend on the Time of Year
Above all else, the hours dictated for an internship get tied to the student’s semester course load.
An intern’s main objective continues to be their education and ensuring they maintain their grades and graduation schedule.
Employers are usually acutely aware of an intern’s school schedule and will work to accommodate their needs and availability.
Typically, employers will expect an intern to put in extra hours towards their internship over the summer months.
That is one of the main reasons why summer internships are so popular among hiring organizations.
They can guarantee a freer and clearer schedule from the intern.
Conclusion: Kickstart Your New Career the Right Way With an Internship
What is an internship, if not a chance to promote yourself and have fun?
It’s sort of a no-brainer.
They’re probably the single best method for landing a full-time offer after graduation and kickstarting your career.
They expose you to real-world scenarios and situations that cannot be taught in a classroom setting.
Internships also help you beef up your resume, and your list of networks and connections will expand once you get into the workplace too!
As-such, the hours set will be determined between the employer and the intern.
Most employers understand that interns typically juggle multiple schedules throughout their internship and are limited in total hours available.