After graduating from university you might find yourself asking: What shall I do? Graduates are often uncertain about which job suits them best. In order to avoid long-lasting disappointments as well as dissatisfaction with your job, it might be a good idea to do an internship before starting into the workforce as a professional.
As an intern, you have the chance to test the skills and knowledge you have obtained during your education. Moreover, you can assume responsibility and grow with it. The experience you gain can help you approach your work with more self-confidence. That will help you learn who you are, which can be a huge benefit for future job applications. Some of you will think that an internship is a waste of time when you might as well start your career with an entry-level job right away. Indeed, a lot of internships are unpaid or only modestly remunerated. In case you decide to do a poorly paid or even unpaid internship, make sure you can still pay for all your living expenses. During the internship the company will figure out whether you are a good fit for their team. Hence an internship can be a pathway into a career at the company you are interning in (sometimes you might even be able to start in a higher position than the one you would have obtained without the internship). If not, you have at least made a lot of new contacts during your time as an intern. These might also be useful when applying for a job.
The duration of an internship always depends on the company and can therefore not be generalized. However, organizations generally prefer interns who stay for at least three and up to six months. Staying for less than three months will not give you a full insight, and your supervisor will hardly be able to delegate any responsibility to you. Therefore, both sides will benefit if you stay a bit longer. Furthermore, after a couple of weeks, you will have established your own routine and become more and more comfortable in your work environment. Even in case the company or the job fall short of your expectations, you still know that you only have to work there for a limited amount of time. No matter if you like or dislike your work, you will learn something really important during your time as an intern: what you want or don’t want! A really valuable lesson!
You might wonder where to search for an internship. Usually, internships are advertised on the well-known job portals. Likewise, social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo and others are good sources when seeking an internship. If you are looking for a job at a specific company, it is best to consult the company website.
Of course, starting with an internship instead of an entry-level job requires compromises, in particular regarding salary. Nevertheless, if you are unsure about your future career, an internship will help you gain experience and figure out what kind of job you want to do later on.