The Importance of an Internship

The scariest part about going through higher education is the prospect of not getting a job after you graduate. During convocation, McGill students are generally split into three categories: “I don’t know what to do now”, “I’m off to Grad school!”, or “I just landed my dream job”. This last tier of students are the lucky few, and I am determined to be a part of this group in May 2017. By ‘lucky’, I mean the ‘smart and resourceful’ ones who took advantage of their university career, made use of the lucrative opportunities and network of people, and eventually paved a way to getting a job right out of university. In most of these cases, the most important and valuable initiative they took, was getting an internship.

According to Forbes.com, “60% of the time, [an] internship will turn into a job offer [upon graduation]”. Here are a few other reasons why I believe every student should absolutely complete an internship program while in university:

–  Real-world Experience: At university, a lot of what we learn can be very theoretical. An internship gives you the perfect opportunity to apply what you have learned in lectures, to a real-world setting. It really helps put everything into perspective and gives you a better understanding of what the job actually entails.

– Test-out the career path: Internships give you the opportunity to try out a job before you get a permanent position. You are able to get a sense of what you like, what you don’t like, and also what kind of work environment you will thrive in.

Resume Builder: An internship undoubtedly looks good on a resume. Employers are increasingly expecting to see that an applicant has had some relevant real-life experience in a related field.

Networking: During internships, you come into contact with many top players in your field, and maintaining good relations with the people you meet could be very beneficial when you start looking for a permanent job.

Improve your Professional Value: Employers like to hire students who have completed an internship because it may increase their job retention. These students have already had real practical experience in the job setting, so they know what they are getting themselves into, and companies would be more confident and comfortable hiring them. These students may also receive higher salaries when hired.

– Compliment your Academics: By completing an internship, you get a chance to self-reflect and discover the gaps in your academic knowledge. This may affect the courses that you choose in the following semesters, therefore, giving you the opportunity to fill those gaps and improve your knowledge and skills before you graduate. Furthermore, many internships enable students to gain college credit towards their degree.

In this day and age, a 4.0 GPA alone is no longer enough to make it to the top of any chosen field. Employers encourage college students to develop personal, professional and leadership skills outside of the classroom. I must have applied to more than 15 Canadian and International summer internship already – and it’s only October! Graduation is not as far away as it may seem. I am determined to stand out from the pool of applicants, and I understand the importance of an internship in elevating my professional value.

I encourage you all to start exploring your internship options and embark on the journey towards your dream job! Visit CaPS or your Faculty/Departmental Advisors to find out more about the internship opportunities available!

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