A college degree won’t get you a job unless you have valuable work experience to go along with it. In the job-hunting world, employers wont look at your résumé if you don’t have some sort of relevant work experience; and internships are a great chance to gain helpful skills. An internship is an opportunity to see what it would really be like to work in a particular industry, whether you’re a good fit, and provides you with experiences, lessons, and tools that employers are looking for. Here are five lessons that I learned from my summer internship:
1. It’s All About Who You Know
I have to admit, I have some very good professional connections. A family connection allowed me to land a great internship in downtown Baltimore. Not only was my location great, I had amazing coworkers, a flexible schedule, and I was paid. Not many college students get the opportunity I did.
2. Build A Network
Knowing professionals and having a good recommendation can really boost your résumé. Contacts are VITAL. If you have someone who can personally vouch for you and your work, finding a job after college will be a lot easier. Also, make an effort to maintain a relationship with each of these people. Don't just use them as references, make them part of your network.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
Being eager, showing enthusiasm, and asking questions helped me improve my performance and learn more about aspects of my job.
4. Punctuality And Time Management Are Key
Whether it’s arriving early or getting a task done on time, punctuality is essential. Manage your time well to get things completed. It shows that you’re dedicated to your work, and that you’re capable of responsibility.
5. The Classroom Is No Substitute For Real Life
No matter how good the education is that you’re getting, it’s different in the real world. While an internship is to gain further experience in your field, it’s more like a real world classroom where the grades are the favor of your employer.
For many students, an internship is their first exposure to a processional job and work setting. My summer internship gave me the opportunity to learn more about a business industry, develop professional skills, apply my classroom knowledge, and build my résumé and career network. While I learned many valuable lessons from my internship, the most is important is to enjoy yourself and the opportunity you have been given. Gaining a meaningful experience and putting forth your best effort will only benefit you in the long run.