Internships are an excellent way for you to gain on-the-job training in your chosen field. The experience you gain is invaluable and it gives you the opportunity to test your skills. You can also make important contacts for future employment career opportunities.
Many colleges and universities offer internships as part of the program of study. They can last for as little as a few weeks or as long as an entire semester or summer. Internships are the perfect way to test the knowledge you have learned in the classroom in a real world setting. An internship also gives you direct access with people and businesses that have years of experience in your field. These can be a resource for you to ask questions and gain inside industry knowledge. They also provide you with insight regarding current trends in your field.
Internships can even help jumpstart your job search. Armed with knowledge of real-world experiences your future employers are sure to be impressed! Often if you make a good impression during your internship the company will be interested in hiring you full time. If not, you can at least ask for references and letters of recommendation to help in your job search. They might even directly know of open other positions at other businesses.
If you are uncertain about which aspect of your industry to pursue, an internship might help you make this decision. As an example, a Business Major may think that he wants to go into international business. However, after an internship at an international company, he finds that he prefers the work of doing business domestically. Rather than taking a full time job and wasting both his or his employer's time, they can now focus their job search on what he really wants to do. Even if you do not find out exactly what you like to do professional, you can at least find out what you do not like.
Something else to keep in mind is that often one of the first questions a potential employer will ask you is about your experience. An internship, even though it may have been short, will enable you to answer a lot more then just "yes" to this question. This gives you an advantage over an equally qualified candidate who did not do an internship.
If you haven't thought of doing an internship, perhaps you should reconsider. Not only will you gain valuable job experience, but it could also be the one thing that sets you apart from the competition.