Written by: Kalli

What is an Internship? 

An internship is a short work opportunity offered by companies to help students gain the knowledge and experience they need to progress in their careers. Internships are offered in the fall, winter, spring, and summer. Some internships are paid and some are not. 

Why are Internships Important? 

While half of the battle of college is getting your degree, the other half is gaining experience relevant to the career you desire. As a college student, you may not be able to gain said experience without your degree. While in an internship, you are able to work under someone who has the professional experience you lack. Being able to learn and work with them can prove to your future company that you are capable of doing the same job in the future. It’s even possible to be offered a job from the company you interned with. Networking with companies, bosses, supervisors, etc. can be helpful in the future because you may need a reference later in life, or your supervisor may recommend you to a job they feel is right for you. 

Paid vs. Unpaid Internships

According to Forbes Advisor, “Industries like fashion and entertainment are more likely to hire unpaid interns, while other sectors, such as finance and tech, typically pay their interns.” The benefits of an unpaid internship is that you should be receiving experience and mentorship. Legally, the company cannot benefit from your work as an intern more than you benefit from their guidance. Department of Labor guidelines are used to determine if an internship should be paid or unpaid. 

On the other hand, paid interns are W-2 employees. They are compensated for the work they do and can be promised a job at the end of their internship. You are likely to receive more responsibilities when participating in a paid internship because you are expected to complete tasks for the company like a full-time employee. 

How Do You Find an Internship? 

Majority of internship opportunities will be available online. However, attending career fairs can also assist in your search. By interacting with companies in person, you may learn about an internship that has not yet been offered online. Sharing your resume, cover letter, and contact information can give you a competitive edge against others who may compete for the same internship.