Graduate students can benefit greatly from an internship. Here are a few reasons why you should consider applying for one.
Employers tend to value soft skills like formatting emails, constructive critique, and time management. Organizations frown upon submitting work late, informal writing, and grammatical errors. Often, your work is but a single piece in the greater workflow of a company. Making sure you can communicate effectively, quickly, and appropriately will set you up for success.
We all know the saying It’s not what you know, but who you know. Although this saying is not completely true, it does have some merit to it. Internships provide connections to professionals in your industry who you’d otherwise be unable to access. Everyone that you come across in your time at your internship can be a potential connection. Consider doing informational interviews, general conversations, and adding fellow employees on LinkedIn. For creatives, you can add other designers and artists on Dribble or Instagram as well. Some of the employees at your internship may not work in your exact specialization. Even so, they may know someone who can help you in your area of expertise.
Portfolios are the proving grounds for showcasing your skills. Many in liberal and fine arts disciplines create portfolios. But this isn’t to say that other fields do not use them. Classwork is where most will start to build their portfolios. However, potential employers prefer to see professional work. For example, client work you’ve done at your internship would be preferred over work you did in your first semester of classes. You could also consider the written work you’ve published. For example, things like blog posts, short stories, poems, or research would be good choices. You should consider asking the professionals around you to critique the items in your portfolio. They have trained eyes that will ensure you include only the best of your work in your portfolio.
Internships are a place to grow, experiment, and prepare for the career ahead of you.
For more information on internship opportunities check out UMBC’s career center on Handshake !