The Importance of Internships (and How They Boost Your Career Prospects)

Young marketing interns working on projects

The job market has gotten more competitive - particularly for white collar professionals - so having something that makes you stand apart from the pile of rèsumès on a hiring director’s desk makes all the difference. In fact, it may be the deciding factor of what will land you the job.

Build Practical Skills through Internships

Marvin Minsky, American computer scientist and AI pioneer said: “You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way.”

This speaks to why internships are so valuable. Learning outside of the textbook compounds your understanding and helps you gain practical experience and professional skills that you can’t replicate fully in a classroom setting. The benefits you gain working in the field make you a more well-rounded (and better prepared) professional.

Enhance Future Career Opportunities with Internship Experience

Internships are not only rèsumès—builders, but network builders. This internship advantage helps you stand out in a competitive market. Leveraging your internship experience prepares you for more job opportunities. Plus, you’ll be able to develop a network of contacts that will help you gain access to potential job opportunities you may not otherwise encounter. In fact, 25 percent of workers found out about job listings through their professional network.

Internships as a Launchpad for Personal and Professional Growth

Nearly half of Millennials wish they’d chosen a different career path. Gen Z shouldn’t have to experience the same problems as their predecessors. With an internship, you can test the waters in a career without making any long-term commitments. Plus, more employers are interested in hiring interns, so the opportunity for career advancement is plenty. Internships can be the launchpad that helps you on the journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and confidence building to handle real-life challenges. In the field, you’ll also discover what you’re good at (and not so good at) so you can guide your future career decisions with real insight—not just your best guess.

Tips for Maximizing the Benefits of an Internship Experience

So, you’ve learned the benefits of internships, but how can you maximize them? Start by setting clear goals and expectations for the internship. Work with your adviser or manager to define these early on so you know if you’re meeting your goals and learning what you set out to. Don’t be afraid to seek guidance from mentors or supervisors throughout your internship. You’re not expected to know everything straight out of the gate; your mentors and supervisors are there to help. Also, don’t be afraid to engage and be an active participant in projects or team activities. This gives you insight into what the day-to-day in your desired career field actually looks like, and it allows you to develop a strong network that you can use to find career opportunities in the future. 

Seize the Opportunity for Career Growth with Internships.

Internships are a great opportunity to build your skills, both professionally and personally. These skills are invaluable in building your career as well as your personal development and future success. So, don’t be afraid to try something new—invest in an internship experience!

Career Development and Internships through St. John’s University

St. John’s University Career Services offers a range of programs and services designed to foster collaborative partnerships between students, alumni, faculty, and employers. These initiatives are geared toward meeting the evolving demands of the global workforce.