10 Benefits of an Internship (Plus Tips for Getting One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An internship is an exciting opportunity that acts as an introduction to a career you want to pursue. They allow you to learn from experienced professionals in a real-world environment, among other advantages, so internships are well-worth considering to start your career. Learning about the various benefits of an internship can help you decide whether this experience suits your long-term career goals. In this article, we discuss 10 important benefits of an internship and share tips to help you get one.

Related: The Best Times to Apply for an Internship (Plus Tips From a University Career Coach)

10 benefits of an internship

Here are 10 benefits of an internship that may help you advance your career goals:

1. Gain job experience

Many people who are new to the workforce, particularly university students, take part in internships because they provide them with job experience in their chosen field. By applying the knowledge they gain in university, you can practise your skills and gain new ones. These skills can help you secure and succeed in entry-level jobs, which are an important first step in any career. Internships can also help you feel more confident when starting your career.

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2. Gain research experience

If you plan to work in academia or a scientific field, you may find that an internship opportunity gives you research experience you can use throughout your career. As a university student, you likely gained research experience while completing your coursework. This type may differ from the research you conduct during your career, and learning how to use your research skills in a professional setting can prepare you for transitioning from university to the workforce. Internships can also help you decide which kind of research position or speciality you want as a career.

3. Have access to a variety of tasks and departments

While some internships, like lab research, might assign you to a specific task every day, other offices might enable exposure to people in various departments and jobs. You may help senior management, take part in meetings, complete minor tasks for projects or observe the daily functions of the office. If your field of study was general, such as a bachelor's in communications, an internship at a publishing company can help you decide what kind of job in the publishing industry you might like to pursue and explore the work environment.

4. Find mentorship opportunities

Valuable relationships often start with a personal connection that enhances the experience for both the mentor and the mentee. Working as an intern may allow you to meet a potential mentor naturally and establish a relationship that helps guide your career path. Internships offer you the chance to demonstrate your skills and personality and learn from senior professionals in the field while seeking their guidance and input. An internship can create a situation where your relationship develops organically, and provide more networking opportunities that allow you to find mentors in other companies or industries.

5. Work towards your career goals

During your education, you may study a variety of subjects to determine your interests. For some, a college degree helps you determine exactly what kind of career you want to have. For others, studying offers a diverse set of experiences that presents multiple career options. An internship can give you job experience by introducing you to daily routines and tasks you're likely to see in several different career paths, offering transferrable skills. It can help you decide if certain jobs fit your talents and allow you to meet people who can give you career advice and guidance.

Related: Career Goals: Definition, How-to and Examples

6. Create a professional network

Your network can help you at any stage in your career, and many professionals start building theirs before they even graduate from university. Taking part in an internship allows you to meet experienced professionals in your career field who may provide you with references or job recommendations in the future. By making a positive impression on the people you work alongside during your internship, you can develop relationships that advance your career. You may one day have the opportunity to help your network connections in return.

7. Build a quality CV

A CV shows potential employers why you may be a suitable candidate for a position. It serves as your introduction to interviewers and allows you to differentiate yourself from competing candidates. When you write or update your CV, be sure to add your internship experience. Internships show employers you're passionate about your career and have already taken steps towards your career goals. When combined with other important information on a CV, such as skills and education, your internship experience may get the attention of hiring managers and increase your chances of getting an interview.

8. Secure good references and recommendations

The supervisors and mentors you meet during your internship can be a valuable reference for you as you pursue a full-time job. The more positive and hardworking you are, the more likely managers may be to recommend you for open positions. References generated from an internship can prove valuable in your job searches because those managers have known you personally and seen how you contributed to the company. They can give hiring managers specific information, describe your developing skills and explain how your education prepares you for employment.

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9. Transition to a permanent position

If your internship is a positive experience for you and the people you work for, a manager may hire you for a permanent position at the company. Hiring managers often use internships as an interview process to determine which interns would be a good fit for open positions. Internships can act as preliminary employment training, and human resources personnel and managers can observe you in various situations to determine if you might be a valuable addition to a team. Even if the company does not have an available position, you can still seek the help of contacts in your field.

10. Build your confidence

Internships can build your confidence when starting new roles and taking on new responsibilities. When you feel good about your ability to perform well in an entry-level role, you may also have a greater sense of preparedness when interviewing for a new position. Internships can provide you with this confidence by giving you skills, experience and an understanding of what it's like to work in your chosen career field. Some candidates even find that completing an internship gives them opportunities for permanent positions, as companies often hire from within the organisation.

Tips for getting an internship

Getting an internship can make a significant difference in your career, but it's important to know how to find one that can help you advance professionally. Here are some tips you can use when searching for internship opportunities:

Talk to professionals in your network

Even if you have yet to start your career, you may have networking contacts that know about internship opportunities, such as family members, friends and students you met at university. They may refer you to other colleagues who can help you or give you helpful resources for finding an internship. You might also consider contacting organisations directly to enquire about potential openings.

Ask university faculty for help

Faculty and staff at your university often know professionals in many fields that can help students who are looking for internships. They may also have access to resources, such as databases and professional organisations, that keep them updated on internship opportunities for students. Consider asking professors or academic advisors if they can help you find an internship.

Update your CV regularly

Most students create a CV while studying at university. If you already have a resume, remember to update it regularly with any changes to your credentials. You can add details such as degrees, awards, training programmes and certifications, which may help you when contacting professionals about internships.

Look for open internships

You may find internship opportunities by doing your own research. Many organisations post internships on job search sites, so searching online is an excellent place to start. This makes it easy to apply for multiple programmes, which may improve your chances of being contacted for an interview. You might also search professional social media pages to see if any organisations in your industry have posted about upcoming internships opportunities.

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