What Is An Internship?

College Interns
An intern is an assistant or apprentice who is being taught a craft or trade. For college students and graduates, an internship is a short term job, often without pay, that allows them to practice their new skills and learn from more experienced employees. It also gives them a real life look into the day to day activities that will define their work environment for the next 30-40 years.

Many companies offer internships because it not only draws fresh new talent but also diversifies their applicant pool. Companies can also evaluate the type of employee that will be most successful in the position without making any commitment. This means companies must structure their internship program to provide the best value for both parties. Providing meaningful assignments to interns would be extremely important in order for the program to be successful and produce results that matter.

Internships are an excellent way for college students or new graduates to test drive their careers and find out first hand if it is something they really want to do the rest of their working days. It is a fact that four out of five workers are not currently in their dream job. If you plan on working forty years until retirement, based on an average 40 hours per week x 50 weeks per year, that is a total of 80,000 hours. That can be a very long time in a job that lacks the excitement and passion you were looking for in your career.

Internships also provide an opportunity to determine what work environment best suits you. If your career is marketing, for example, there are an extraordinary amount of options available that include advertising agencies, large corporate marketing departments, small privately owned marketing agencies and non profit companies. Consider, too, the industry that interests you. An internship will give you an idea of how knowledgeable you will need to be in the area of medical terminology, the law, the insurance industry or manufacturing processes. You may also want to consider areas of special expertise. If your career goal is to be a tax accountant, you would have a more meaningful experience with an internship in the tax department of a large corporation or with a major CPA firm.

One of the strongest benefits for students to participate in an internship is the possibility of being hired full time by the company after graduation from college. In the current economy where competition for jobs is fierce, this can be a huge factor. If the experience is positive for both the company and the intern, over 90% of interns on average are offered a permanent position with the company.

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