In today’s competitive job market, more and more students are pursuing higher education in order to distinguish themselves. While achieving a Master’s degree is an excellent path towards academic development, there are some skills that you simply cannot learn in a classroom or from reading textbooks. A combination of real world experience and academic foundations is truly the best formula to prepare you for your future after graduation. Internships provide the perfect opportunity for soon-to-be graduates to test their knowledge in a practical setting. Today, more and more colleges and universities are creating support programs to encourage their students to peruse internships while in school. Read on to discover just a few of the benefits of working an internship while completing your master’s degree.
Test your skills
Internships are a great opportunity to put your knowledge and skills to the ultimate test. Passing university exams is important, but it is even more important to be able to apply your knowledge once you have obtained a job. Working an internship allows you to test your skills in a low-stakes environment, giving you the chance to work on areas that may need improvement before undertaking an official job. Self-reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses is an important part of professional development and the sooner that you get started the better! Working an internship while getting your masters, will allow you to practice applied skills while you still have your professors as resources for any questions or advice. Further, working an internship will allow you to develop new applied skills that may not be taught in the classroom.
Test-drive a career
Internships are also wonderful opportunities for students to try out different career options before fully committing to a full-time permanent position. If you work an internship and realise that you absolutely love it, then you know that you found the right workplace environment for you. But if you work an internship and you realise that you don’t like that career field, then don’t feel like your internship experience was a failure; on the contrary, realising what jobs are not good matches for you is one of the best benefits that internships have to offer. Realising early on what career paths are not ideal for you, can allow you to redirect your job searching efforts towards a career that you are more passionate about. If one internship is not the right fit for you, try applying for another one that you may like more; this way you have a chance to experience your different career options before graduating.
Get your foot in the door
Any professional development seminar will tell you that one of the most important components of career success is networking. Working an internship can allow you to make valuable connections before you even commit to a permanent career. Many internships can result in a job offer; but even when they don’t, having good relations with your internship employer can result in personal recommendations and positive references. Internships are available from a wide variety of employers, including several prestigious companies. Having a reputable employer on your resume can open doors for you in related career fields. Starting an internship early can allow you to make valuable networking connections before you even graduate, greatly increasing your chances of finding employment once you leave school. Further, working an internship can allow you to learn the ins-and-outs of your industry so that you can start understanding what actions will allow you to achieve upward mobility. Talking to some of your co-workers to understand if they like their careers and how they earned their positions, is an invaluable experience that is not available in the classroom.
Impress future employers
Having an internship as a credential on your resume will make you stand out to potential employers. Working an internship communicates that you are proactive and have experience applying your master’s level skills and knowledge. Many jobs require a minimum amount of work experience even for entry level positions, so getting a head start while you are in school will help you qualify for a job. Supplementing your master’s diploma with an internship, proves that you are not just book smart but street smart as well. Having both academic and work experience credentials will make you seem like a well-rounded job candidate who has many skills to offer.