What is the Importance of an Internship?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 12 September 2022 | Published 16 August 2021

Updated 12 September 2022

Published 16 August 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.

Gaining industry knowledge and experience is essential for students and young professionals. Regardless of your field of interest or current level of education, completing an internship provides you with the opportunity for both personal and professional growth. In this article, we explain why internships are important, discuss why they matter, and provide 10 reasons why internships are beneficial.

Related: How To Get an Internship in 15 Steps

What is the importance of an internship?

It's necessary to understand the importance of an internship because of the value they bring to both your educational and professional career. Internships are important because of the new skills and opportunities they provide.

For example, you may be a polytechnic student looking for an internship, a university student wanting extra credit or a young professional about to enter the job market. Regardless of who you are, working as an intern certainly helps you grow your career. You can learn how to act in the workplace and have the chance to develop your soft skills. Furthermore, you improve your practical knowledge and increase your employability.

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

Why do internships matter?

While it's not strictly necessary to complete an internship in order to find a job, it's highly advantageous to have done so. Internships matter because they provide you with a unique experience you would be unable to find anywhere else. Significantly, internships are important to employers, as most entry-level jobs require the candidate to have already had professional experience. Therefore, while internships are not strictly necessary, they are highly beneficial.

Related: 6 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Internship Law

10 reasons why an internship is important

Internships are important because they strengthen both your professional and personal character. Moreover, they are essential to your development because of the numerous benefits and opportunities they provide. Here are 10 reasons why internships promote your personal and professional growth:

Related: Tips from a University Career Coach: How To Succeed in a Virtual Internship

1. Help you gain work experience

An internship provides you with invaluable work experience. When working as an intern, you receive professional feedback that you can use to help improve your skills and competencies. Joining an internship also provides you with the opportunity to learn from the professionals who work in your field of interest on a daily basis. This allows you to gain a practical view of the inner workings of your preferred industry as opposed to the theoretical view you learn in the classroom.

As explained above, adding professional experience to your CV makes you more attractive to future employers. This is an important consideration, as many job listings require the candidate to have previous work experience. This is why internships are an excellent way to add more substance to your CV.

Related: Do Interns Get Paid? (Plus Salary, Duties and Benefits)

2. Develop your soft skills and level of professionalism

Becoming an intern helps you develop and improve your soft skills. Soft skills are attributes that allow you to work effectively and interact harmoniously with your coworkers. These include time management, leadership, communication and emotional intelligence. Such skills are often greatly valued by employers and ultimately make you a better, more well-rounded professional.

Interning also helps develop your level of professionalism, because it teaches you how to operate in the workplace. You learn the appropriate way to interact with, and address, your coworkers, your superiors and your boss.

3. Help you discover your passions and interests

Internships give you the space to discover what career paths you might be interested in pursuing. Because you are working within your field of interest, you gain a real insight into how your daily work-life could look in the future.

As an intern, you can apply the knowledge you have learned in the classroom and connect it to real-life applications. Perhaps you might discover that working in your field of interest may not be as fulfilling or as inspiring as you had hoped. This can provide you with the opportunity to explore your interests and determine whether another role or industry may align better with your abilities and passions. If you realise the role may not contain the job scope or may not be in an industry you are interested in pursuing, you can view it as a learning experience.

Related: 8 Benefits of an Internship (With Tips to Help You Excel)

4. Provide excellent networking opportunities

One of the greatest advantages of completing an internship is that it allows you to grow your professional network. Building relationships with professionals working within your desired field is essential to your future career. The connections you make can lead to future job opportunities and may increase your marketability. Because you have already proven yourself to those within your network, you may have an advantage over competitors when trying to secure a job.

5. Provide a gentle introduction to working

An internship is meant to be an introduction to your career. Your new coworkers are aware that you are new and are most likely glad to help you. Therefore, interning allows you the space to discover your core values, strengths and weaknesses in a safe environment.

Internships also highlight the benefits of having a healthy work-life balance. Because you are introduced to a new schedule, your time management skills improve as you begin to prioritise tasks around office hours. You can also observe your colleagues and learn how they manage time inside and outside the workplace.

Related: Starting Your Career Virtually: Tips for Gen Z in the Workplace

6. Help you determine and realise your career goals

Gaining real-life experience working as an intern provides you clarity on what you would like your future career goals to be. These goals are defined visualisations explaining how you want your professional path to look. Because you learn the inner workings of your desired industry and meet professionals within your field, it becomes easier to determine what goals can be attained in order to grow your career following the completion of your internship.

Related: Career Goals: How To Set, Examples and Tips for Achieving

7. Promote the growth of your future career

Internships are a great addition to any CV and they increase your employability, making you a more ideal candidate for future jobs you may seek. While there is no guarantee of receiving a job offer following the completion of your internship, interning at a company certainly increases your chances of being hired internally, as your employer is already familiar with your work ethic. While your internship may not produce any immediate job offers, it provides you with the opportunity to find a referee for your future job search.

Related: How To Ask Someone To Be Your Referee: Email Examples

8. Pay you to learn

While not all internships offer remuneration, there are many that do. These are excellent opportunities because you gain entry-level work experience while earning an income. Paid internships often have specific skill requirements the candidate has to meet. By obtaining such a position, you show future employers that your skill level was high enough to procure a paid placement.

While it's of course ideal to find an internship that also pays you for your work, those that do not offer a wage can not be ignored. They still provide a fantastic learning experience and there are often scholarships you can seek if you require financial aid while working as an unpaid intern.

9. Earn you possible credit for your degree

Many schools count internships as extra credit. Indeed, many college degrees require students to partake in an internship. This typically counts as a course on the transcript and is a condition for graduating. Interning for your university therefore provides you with valuable industry experience and further promotes your education.

10. Introduce you to new people and cultures

Working as an intern introduces you to a new set of people. You learn how to navigate office politics, including how to approach office gossip or the hierarchy of authority. Observing and learning about the workplace culture teaches you how to form positive relationships with your coworkers and how to communicate successfully with upper management. Do not be afraid to make suggestions or ask for help.

Partaking in an internship can also provide you with the opportunity to travel abroad. If you find an international position, you can discover a new culture, find a new language to learn and a new location to explore.

Related: Internships vs. Apprenticeships: The Main Differences

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