An internship is when a student or trainee works for a company in order to gain valuable experience – often, experience that must be learned hands-on versus from books. For example, doctors must go through an internship in order to meet the qualifications for their medical degree. Many individuals in the performing arts and fashion industries go through internships to gain valuable experience towards their craft.
Oftentimes, an internship is either necessary or would serve a position purpose in one’s career. Other times, however, an internship may not be warranted. It is either unnecessary, or wouldn’t really be useful. Before jumping into an internship it is important to weight out all the pros and cons. Using that, you can decide if an internship is right for you, and what you’d like to accomplish with it.
The Pros of Internships
1. You can gain valuable experience that may not be available in an entry level position
2. That experience, as a bonus, is hands-on. Many skills are better mastered this way, and many people simply learn better with a hands-on approach versus textbooks.
3. For some people, an internship meets requirements necessary for degrees or certifications
4. Since you’re basically getting paid in experience, you’ll have the ability to complete many different tasks and work on many different projects. This can help to keep the work fun and interesting.
5. There is always a possibility you could be hired on as a full time employee at the end of your internship.
The Cons of Internships
1. One of the main cons is that internships are often (as in almost always) unpaid.
2. Some may kind of look down on you, as though you’re not even part of the staff. This is a sad truth, but some professionals might see you as unqualified, and therefore, below them.
3. The term ‘intern’ will be basically glued to you, which causes a lot of people to assume you are still a student (even if you’ve already graduated from schooling and are now joining an internship for job-specific skills)
4. Since you’ll be working on a lot of different tasks, your hours may be varied, causing difficulty in creating a solid schedule.
5. Often, you’ll have to start with the grunt work as an intern, and work your way up to the things you really want to learn.
Based on the pros and cons listed above, you should be able to determine whether an internship is the right choice for you. The most important thing in the long run, however, is to remember it is your decision. Never feel pressured to take an internship – or just any internship, instead of the one you really want.