How Do Internships & Graduate Jobs Make Or Break Your Career?

  • 3 years   ago

Think of your internships and entry-level graduate jobs as ladders. They’re the platform that gets you from zero experience to enough experience to land an opportunity that brings you both meaning and value. Internships and graduate jobs are what make your career, however, they can also break your chances of developing a fulfilling career. Here’s how.

Internships and graduate jobs impact your career by:

Giving you a teaser of what working in a professional space is like

Going through the experience of an internship or your first entry-level job is the perfect segway into the rest of your professional career.

Internships and entry-level jobs help you sharpen hard skills and develop soft skills. Both are pretty much incomplete without the other. They push you enough to learn new things but also provide a channel to put your university-taught theory into practice. You’ll get to sharpen your skills while getting insight into your industry at a practical level.

Internships and entry-level jobs give you just the right amount of real-world exposure, experience, and challenge. You’ll be pushed out of your comfort zone, which may mean rotating out to different departments during your internship, supporting with different multi-disciplinary projects, or even sitting in on executive-level meetings.

Showing you the things you don’t enjoy doing

While you intern or work in your shiny new role, you may end up discovering that you don’t like the industry you are in or the company you work for or the type of projects you are tasked with. And that’s okay.

By the end of your internship or first graduate job, you’ll have a better understanding of yourself in the professional space. You’ll learn about your professional communication style, time management skills, and learning style.

Most importantly, you’ll realize the things you don’t enjoy. You may decide on a career path change. You may realize you prefer working in a smaller or larger organization. You may realize you don’t want to work for anyone else at all. These realizations will help pave the way to a career best suited to you.



Helping you find a full-time job

The best internship programs are built to teach and convert interns into full-time employees. Similarly, the best entry-level jobs prepare you to progress up the ranks.

While early career opportunities help develop professional skills, they also provide a platform to demonstrate your progress and potential to your team - this is often why interns and entry-level employees are the first considered for internal hires.

On the same token, countless studies have concluded that having an internship experience significantly increases your chances of finding a full-time, long-term career opportunity - especially paid internships. In fact, there’s a 60% chance of you receiving a job offer after completing a paid internship, as opposed to a 36% chance of an offer if you have no internship experience (NACE, 2012).

Exposing you to and in a professional network

One of the best things to come out of an internship program is the professional network you’ll gain. While you intern, there may not always be explicit networking events, you will still be exposed to professionals of all levels, backgrounds, and opinions.

However, while constant exposure to professionals and their network can work wonders on your career prospects, it’s very important to remember that your first impression and every impression after that, your work ethic, communication skills, all will have a significant impact on your chances of getting your dream job.

Source: first entry-level job