You’ve spent a lot of time and energy hitting the books. You’re ready to relax and hang out with friends. You’ve earned it, right? Why would you even consider working as an intern all summer long … possibly even for free? Sure, no one wants to work for free, but even if you don’t receive a physical paycheck, you are receiving value from the time spent in an internship.

Just like your degree, a summer internship is an investment in your future. Whether paid or unpaid, for credit or not-for-credit, there are many benefits gained from an internship. Let’s look at some of them.

Summer Internships Build Your Professional Network

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Who you know is more important than what you know.” This is exactly why networking is so important. People will give you opportunities, and people will get you jobs. LinkedIn, a popular, well-known networking platform, reveals that 85 percent of all jobs are filled by networking. If you didn’t consider networking to be a valuable tool in finding a job, that statistic should change your mind.

This means that as a summer intern, you’re increasing your opportunities for finding a job when you graduate. Inversely, if you don’t work hard and you gain a reputation as a slacker, you could be hurting your future career opportunities as well. So, be sure to work hard, even if you’re working for free. Your future may very well depend on it.

An internship provides the following networking benefits, including:

  • Building your professional network because you meet a variety of professionals already working in your field of study
  • Teaching you how to communicate professionally as you interact with others in a professional environment
  • Finding a mentor—you may meet the perfect mentor who can help you start your career and make smart career moves and choices
  •  Acquiring references you can use to find a full-time job upon graduation

Networking means you have a much higher chance of landing a full-time job in the future because you know someone or because someone passed your name onto someone else—more so than by just applying for a job by sending in your resume. Remember, that’s how 85 percent of job positions are filled.

Summer Internships Provide Real-World Experience

Although you may have to go for an occasional cup of coffee or run errands, you are gaining actual work experience that will look good on your resume.

An internship gives you an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and test-drive potential career paths without having to worry about being an expert. Everyone knows you’re there to gain experience and to learn. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to learn while you can. Having said that, you still want to work hard and do your best. After all, the company where you’re serving as an intern is a potential future employer.

Summer Internships Help Build Resumes

You’ve graduated and it’s time to find a full-time job. But, without work experience, how can you build a strong resume to help you land a job? Good question. Internships are the answer. Internships enable you to build valuable, applicable experience. Internships could be your ticket to improving your chances as a job applicant and may make you a better future employee. As a new graduate, competing against other recent graduates, employers are more likely to hire the person who has worked as an intern than someone who lacks any work experience.

Additionally, your internship experience can help you master valuable skills that you can use to sell yourself in future interviews. Internships teach you about your strengths and weaknesses—valuable things to know as you prepare yourself for the future.

Summer Internships Give You a Solid Foundation

Internships give you the building blocks you need to build a strong foundation for your future career. Choose internships that interest you and ones with good career prospects. Apply for internships in companies you would love to work for in the future. If you do well as an intern, you’ll have your foot in the door when future opportunities arise. Companies often utilize internships as a testing ground for future employees. Successful internships often lead to job offers after graduation.

Summer Internships Can Help Clarify Career Choices

Perhaps you’ve chosen a career path because it sounds fun or glamorous, but you’re not clear what someone working in your chosen career path really does. Internships can help clarify this and many other aspects of a job in your chosen career.

Even though you may do lots of menial tasks that have nothing to do with your ultimate career, you may be able to observe someone else who is performing in that capacity. This can better prepare you to determine that your major is right for you long before you graduate.

If an internship doesn’t assist you in determining what you need to know about a job or career, you may need to pursue another internship in the future, with the same company or different one and in the same career field or a different one.

Many students wait until their junior or senior year to pursue internships, but why wait? Experts advise students to start looking for internship opportunities much sooner. An earlier internship allows you to determine whether you’re pursuing the right career path. It gives you time to make changes in your choice of degrees should you discover that your current career plans aren’t what you thought they would be in the corporate world. And, if you apply earlier and don’t find a position as an intern this year, you have a better understanding of the process and are more likely to succeed next year.

University of the Cumberlands employs faculty who are actively involved in the business community and can help you with your education and internship objectives. UC offers very competitive tuition rates and a sense of honor in everything we do. Why look anywhere else? Contact an admissions counselor for more information or call us at 877-713-8767.