The Importance of Internships
by Caleb Dunson If you are looking for ways to prepare yourself for future jobs and reach your educational goals, internships are the perfect thing for you. Internships allow you to explore job industries, develop valuable skills, and build your resume for college. With an internship, you have the opportunity to get a sample of what it’s like to work in a particular job sector. Let’s say you want to be an accountant. Interning at an accounting firm will place you in an environment with professional accountants and gives you the chance to see what kind of work they do on a daily basis. That, in turn, can help you make decisions about your own career choices. In a 2016 study done by Look Sharp, 81% of college graduates said that their internships helped them shift their career interests (Saltikoff, 2017). Interning also develops important job skills like time management and communication. Justin Brown, a freshman at Purdue University who completed a high school work-study program, said “My internship helped me develop my communication skills. I learned how to come out of my comfort zone and talk with coworkers I did not know very well.” The pandemic may have made work more difficult, but as you overcome the unique challenges of this time period you’ll grow in your ability to be resilient, determined, and focused. Internships also build your resume, which can lead to future opportunities. A Princeton Review article about how students can improve their college applications explains that internships and job experiences are great ways to boost your chances of getting into college (Princeton Review, 2020). Allison Chhay, a freshman at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign affirmed that, saying “Internships have allowed me to be comfortable speaking with industry professionals. I gained confidence and met great mentors, which helped me when it came time for college interviews.” There are several places you can go to find and apply for internships. Programs like One Summer Chicago and After School Matters host internships for high school students regularly. On The Money Magazine also hosts an internship in the fall, spring, and summer, with opportunities to learn about journalism, business, and economics. Visit OneSummerChicago.org and OntheMoneyMagazine.org. If all else fails, you can always do a quick Google search for internships based on your qualifications and interests. Good luck with the job hunt!