Why You Should Do an Internship

”Looking for a fresh graduate with 1 to 2 years’ work experience” – Does this line from a job ad look familiar? Take up an internship to meet this impossible hiring requirement.
Carmen Teh
Writer, gradsingapore

During the hiring process, employers often look for evidence that a candidate is able to deliver on the job. Work experience is typically what they turn to as it can stand for your skills and your suitability for the position you are applying for.

Undertaking internships and/or work placements are thus the perfect way for full-time students to gain relevant work experience. You should also start early and plan ahead to gain the right range of skills to help you meet your career goals!

Besides gaining work experience, there are also other benefits to doing an internship. Here are some of them to help you maximise your time at your next stint:

To gain relevant skills

Work experience will help you develop skills required for the workplace. These skills include crucial transferrable or soft skills that cannot be learned from books, but through real-life exposure and experiences.

For instance, you can develop…

  • Communication skills – From interacting with your coworkers and/or clients
  • Organisational skills – By managing your tasks to meet deadlines
  • Teamworking skills – From your experience working with team members

Hence, it is important for you to view all experiences within the workplace as a means of practising for your future job. You should also consider the type of skills and experiences you wish to gain and seek out opportunities during your internship. Setting your objectives before you start the internship will help you make the most of your time there.

To understand yourself better

While internships are a great way to gain the relevant knowledge, experience and skills, they also allow you to dip your feet in the pool and discover whether the field is truly something you can see yourself building a career in.

The internship experience will give you an insider’s point of view and an understanding of the different roles and tasks within the industry.

Moreover, an internship will give you a realistic experience of how your knowledge and technical skills learned in school can be applied in a work environment.

It is also a good way to gauge your abilities and working style, and find out what you can improve on.

To get your foot in the door

An internship will give you the opportunity to get your foot in the door at the company and/or in the industry you want to work in. If you perform well, you may be asked to stay on or return as a full-time staff after graduating.

It is not uncommon for employers to convert interns to permanent staff members as it can save them the hassle of familiarising new hires with the work environment and culture of the organisation, as well as the trouble of figuring out whether he or she is a good fit for the company.

However, converting an internship into a full-time role is not a sure thing for all interns! You need to stand out from your fellow interns and go beyond your regular intern duties to impress your employers. 

To broaden your network

There is no better time to start developing your professional network than during your internship. As an intern, you have the chance to build relationships with people in the company and industry which will benefit you in both the near and distant future.

For instance, you may be invited to join company or industry events. So do make an effort to socialise and put your best version of yourself forward! The people you meet and interact with during such events can become career mentors or even references when you are looking for a graduate job in the future.