SBDC: Real World Internships

Published: October 9, 2015

Small Business Development Correspondent

We have all heard it before: “Internships prepare you for the real world.” But here are a few ideas from Ryan Smith, CEO and founder of Qualtrics. In his article for Fortune, he mentioned several ideas that you might not think about when considering an internship.

You actually gain real experience outside of the classroom.

Once again, you have probably heard this a thousand times in class, from your professors or from your parents, but it really is true. Most employers value your work experience just as much, if not more, than the classes you have taken.

Obviously, your schoolwork is important, but employers want to see that you have the skills neccasary to function in their work environment. Not only do they want to see that you did well in principles of marketing; they also want to see that you can take what you have learned and develop a marketing plan, for example. Interning at a small business often allows you to gain experience in many different aspects of business, which can be valuable in the job hunt.

Internships help determine what you like.

You often hear of people having four of five jobs before they turn 30. Why? They accept jobs that they think will be a good fit, but it turns out that they either do not like them or they do not have the skills necessary to succeed.

Internships help you determine what you like, but more importantly, they help you determine what you do not like. That is one of the great things about interning at a small business, where you get to experience practically every part of the business. This allows you to figure out which parts you like and which parts you do not like, which can help tailor your future career path.

Internships let you “date before you get married.”

You would never marry someone before you dated them, right? Then why would you accept a job without having some idea what you are getting into? Internships let you get a taste of your future without committing you to a long-term relationship. If you like the company and your position, great! If not, then no hard feelings. It is better to find out whether or not you like something before you make the commitment. You might think that you want to work for a big corporation, but you might actually prefer a small local business with a more intimate setting, or vice versa. The bottom line is that you will never know unless you try.

Even though you have heard it several times, It will say it again-internships prepare you for the real world. Employers value experience in future hires, which is one of the many reasons to consider and interning at a small business. Small businesses let you see the business as a whole, which can help you tailor your future career path. Interning at a small business can also help you discover whether you are best suited for a large corporate or small local environment.

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