In a hyper competitive job market, it is getting more and more important to have work experience before one even graduates from college. This is where internships come in. They serve the purpose of allowing students to learn and grow through practical experience outside of the classroom. As a rising sophomore, my social media marketing internship at RxEconsult was my first internship, and it allowed me to gain valuable knowledge and skills for future jobs. Below are some of the more important takeaways from my internship experience.
One of the greatest skills any internship teaches you is how to behave in a professional manner. While you may feel that communicating with professors in college requires a certain degree of decorum, it is ultimately a step below what will be required of you once you leave university. Internships offer the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate and conduct oneself in a boss-employee relationship. Knowing this skill is incredibly important for future career options as effective communication between bosses and employees is one of the most essential factors in getting a job done well.
Learning New Skills
The main goal of your internships is obviously for you to learn how to do your future jobs. In my case, that meant learning how to use social media to effectively market an organization. To that end, I learned about the nuances of sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and even Squidoo. Obviously what skills you learn in your internship will vary based on your chosen career, but the important part is that you are expanding your practical knowledge for future use.
Refining Old Skills
Along with learning new skills, internships are a great way to refine skills that you already possess. For example, my internship required me to produce a great deal of written material. This ended up serving as writing practice and helped me to improve my skills as an effective communicator and writer. Again though, what skills you are able to refine at your internship will vary based on your role.
Another great thing internships offer is the ability to make more connections. This could be as limited as only connecting with the people you directly work with to making a hundred plus new connections through meeting clients and using business networking sites such as LinkedIn. The point is that internships allow you to meet and get to know people who can potentially help you out in the future.
The Recommendation and the Resume
The final thing a person will take away from an internship are more experience for their resume, and if they performed well, a source for future recommendations. In a highly competitive job market, either of these assets could make or break an application for a position. So if you do plan on doing an internship, which I recommend, remember the old adage, “any job worth doing is worth doing well”. With this in mind, you should be able to add more experience to your resume but also a solid recommendation option for the future.
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