Internships are for the purpose of giving college students insight into the working world, as well as providing hands-on experience and valuable information to include on a resume. As with most things in life, there are certain myths out that only serve to distort the reality of what interning is all about and what students can expect. The important thing for students to know is that these myths are just that–myths–and can be easily busted to prevent misinformation.
Interns Only Get People Coffee & Donuts
This has been a long-running joke when it comes to interns. Being sent on such menial tasks does happen but that isn’t the whole experience or the reason why companies employ the use of interns. Each job comes with its own set of tasks that interns may find beneath them, boring or useless to the learning experience so it is important to embrace that reality check right away.
However, the best way to avoid this unpleasant surprise is to do thorough research on the companies students plan on applying for internships at. Read through the program description carefully and make sure it contains activities/tasks that are of interest. Don’t see anything that qualify? It could be a sign to skip on that particular opportunity and look for another one more suitable.
Interns Are at the Bottom of the Food Chain…Nobody Cares About Them
Not true. Students buying into this myth will certainly go into the experience with a negative perception, which could affect the quality of their work.
Just because interns aren’t held up to the same level as supervisors or CEOs, that doesn’t mean they’re any less important or can’t contribute positively to the company.
In fact, many employers hold their interns in high regard, especially since they know how important the experience is for helping them reach their academic and future career goals.
Interns should realize they don’t have to be at the top to be considered an asset. Being inquisitive, dedicated to the tasks assigned to them and providing feedback where appropriate are all actions companies appreciate and encourage.
Unpaid Internships Don’t Provide the Best Experience
Snagging a paid internship is great for any student but don’t be confused into thinking that it is only the paid ones that are worth applying to. A majority of internships are unpaid and while that can be discouraging, the lack of pay doesn’t reflect on the quality of the employer/company.
Some of the best internship experiences are those that are unpaid. Instead of looking into this opportunity for the money, students should look into internships for the main purpose of gaining experience, possible mentorship and to foster networking opportunities.
Internships Aren’t Beneficial After They’ve Ended
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Participating in an internship might be a one-time event but that doesn’t mean the skills gained and networking connections stop there, too. Many students that finish internships maintain close ties with their connections at the company. In many instances, former interns end up being among the first chosen for job openings after graduation.