By Caroline Leff
Hi! I’m the Marketing Intern here at FreeConferenceCall.com. As I get ready to enter my sophomore year the University of San Francisco, I have two internships under my belt. For those who have never considered interning before, I’m going to give you the lowdown on what I’ve learned so far.
Even if you don’t read this article, here’s a simple formula to remember:
Education + Internships = How to steer your career
This is what you have understand about being an intern: Whether it’s paid, for college credit, unpaid, or for no credit at all, the value of a well-chosen intern experience doesn’t change. Your investment of time and effort will pay off in other aspects, as an internship can help propel you into your future career.
So why are students hesitant to pursue internships? Often, they have a prefixed idea that they will be stuck performing meaningless tasks — shredding paper, making coffee runs, or spending the day babysitting the copy machine. Fortunately, that idea is more myth than reality.
During my most recent internship with FreeConferenceCall.com (where I can assure you, I did no shredding whatsoever), I got much more than a paycheck.
As a Marketing major, I knew that I wanted to intern for a company’s marketing department. I didn’t know much about what employees do in a marketing department, but after working at FreeConferenceCall.com for a summer, I gained a lot of knowledge and experience. I worked a full-time position, and I was busy around the clock. I was assigned to all sorts of tasks common to a marketing department, such as posting on social networks, blogging, project management and trade show preparation.
As I near the end of my summer internship, I’ve realized that internships are paramount to establishing your worth in the job market. Here are my top reasons why:
1. Gain Experience
Joining a company’s team as an intern can initially feel awkward but shouldn’t set you apart from other employees. It’s a learning position, and most companies are great at making sure interns feel comfortable. Internships allow you the good fortune to be hands-on in a professional element. Ideally, you’ll get a well-rounded experience and see how companies and organizations operate. You may also learn soft skills (like being on time and professional etiquette) that are important to have in a workplace setting.
2. Build Your Network
Building your professional network is just as crucial as gaining experience. Aside from acquiring exposure for my future career in marketing, I created amazing relationships with fellow employees. Relationships matter in the world of work. When your internship concludes, you leave with a whole new set of contacts and resources to tap into in the future. Not only can you acquire mentors, but you can gain references for the future when trying to find new job opportunities.
3. Take Your Career for a Test-Drive
Choosing a major or a field of work can be very tricky. You may think you want to pursue Economics based on that Microeconomics course that you took in college, only to realize once you get a job as an economist that it’s not what you wanted it to be. Finding a career that you love and enjoy is extremely important in contributing to overall happiness and productivity. As a well-respected mentor always tells me, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Internships provide the opportunity for interns to connect with experienced professionals in their field of interest. So take advantage of that and ask real questions about what they like and don’t like. And who knows — this could be an opportunity for you to get your foot in the door. Or close the door firmly behind you. And change majors.
4. Build Your Resume
The more internships you have on your resume, the more competitive you become in the job market. That’s why it’s critical to select internships based on your major — it’s real, practical knowhow that complements your academic history. Your resume is the foundation for every job application out there. Employees are way more likely to hire an applicant with internships and experience rather than someone without.
In conclusion, internships are tools used to gain experience, build your network and ultimately improve your prospects as a job applicant. They’re also critical to building your confidence. Every morning I walked into the FreeConferenceCall.com office, I would feel like this was the place I belonged. I was never treated as an inferior just because I was an intern, and the employees at the company always pushed me to be the best I could be and inspired me to conquer everyday tasks. I know that FreeConferenceCall.com will be my standard for accepting future internships.