Internships impact on career guidance
Internship programs are very important to help students to identify their most suitable career path. Businesses have a key role in this because through the internship programs they guide students in their right professional path. While academic programs give students theoretical knowledge about their chosen occupation, they usually fail to describe the activities of that occupation.
An internship gives students the opportunity to gain practical knowledge for their career and have real experience about daily requests of their occupation. This means that students will be more prepared to fulfill the market demands and will be more successful in their career.
According to a study from the National Youth Development Agency, “a good internship offers students the possibility to decide what professional field to pursue.”
“You need experience, in order to get experience”. This is a problem for most of the youth that want to get in the labor market. Employers are interested to hire young employees with relevant experience from an internship or volunteer job, before applying for the position.
The internship benefits are huge because you not only provide yourself with a good job, but you also facilitate the career choice process.
Internship exposes you in the real job world. It also allows students to use their skills, knowledge, and theoretical part learned in universities while applying them in different real-life scenarios. The gained experience provides knowledge about specific industries and companies, in which the students are interested in. This will create an idea related to their future occupation.
Overall, a good internship helps students to get out of the daily routine and meet new people, who in the future may help them in choosing a professional path.
The main benefits of an internship for career guidance are:
- Professional training
During the internship, students can attend different professional training, which will give detailed knowledge for a certain occupation. The benefits of these training are noticed during integration into the professional world because students will understand their duties and responsibilities without extra pressure.
- A chance to better know yourself
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” - Aristotle
The experiences we pass through are the ones that shape us. Practice does not only encourage professional development but also enables you to understand more about yourself. Knowing yourself is knowing your goals and to better understand yourself. Finding this level of clarity is difficult, but sometimes all you must do is get out of your comfort zone.
For example, a Marketing and Business student has decided to do an internship that has to do with his/her field of study, and it will give him/her a chance to understand what a career in marketing looks like. Sometimes reality does not match our expectations. At this point, students are given the opportunity to decide if they want to continue with their chosen career path or want to switch to something else.
- Develop your professional network
A professional internship is the information exchange between people, to create relationships to advance in the professional career. Of course, that everyone may create a network without having to do an internship, but such a process would be more limited. Being an intern gives you more opportunities to build professional networks with different companies, such networks can be of advantage to your career. According to Timothy Butler, a professor at Harvard Business School, “The biggest mistake that people make networking is that people don’t do it”.