Four reasons why you should get an internship in your first year

June 27, 2016
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You’ve probably heard all about the benefits of interning, whether it’s to create a network, build up a portfolio, or even just to learn what it’s like to work in your industry. We get it, internships are the start of a long and happy life of career success and can even be fun in their own right.

But at which point do you go about securing an internship for yourself? It makes sense to leave it until you’re almost at the finish line with your degree, right? That way you’ll just breeze straight from your internship into a blissful entry-level job. But interning in your first year can actually be an incredibly rewarding experience, and can help you overcome some of those lingering nerves you have over your chosen career path. Read on for our reasons on why doing an internship in your first year is one of the more productive things you’ll do this year.

It will translate your classroom skills into the workplace

We all know how tedious assignments are. After a semester or two of learning skills in a rigid, tried-and-true academic environment, it’s hard to see how any of the stuff you’re learning is applicable to the workplace.

Interning in your first year will help usher you into the light. Suddenly, all that time spent labouring over an essay or trying to negotiate the distribution of a group project will transform into killer workplace management skills and a knowledgebase for impressing your new colleagues. Hey, at the very least, you’ll kick ass at the company trivia night. That just seems like a win-win to me.

It’ll help you discover whether you’re in the right field

Unsure of whether you’re degree is the right one for you? Loving your degree but not loving the idea of the career at the end of it? Get yourself an internship, pronto. Interning is the perfect way to introduce yourself to the job you are working towards. It allows you to dip your toes into the skillset, workplace and the world of your chosen field without waiting to finish your degree.

If you hate what you’re doing when interning, you’re probably not going to like the job at the end of your degree. Best to find out now than spend another three (or five) years of your life in a coffee-fuelled nightmare trying to get there. Clarity can be a beautiful thing, my friends.

You can start building your contact network

I’m sure I’m not the only student who has been told time and time again to network, as it can lead to scoring your first industry job. Of course there are a number of ways to do this, but interning will always be my personal number one. There’s just nothing like actually working with professionals in your field to kick-start one heck of a contact network.

By interning early, you’ll get your name out sooner than your peers and thus have earlier access to those extra opportunities someone may pass your way. Now get out there and network like an eager pre-grad friending their way to success.

It will help you build your portfolio and resume experience

For those of us taking the boot-trembling journey into the creative industries, having a stellar portfolio will be a major key to success. By interning in your first year, you’ll have the opportunity to have your work published on a professional platform before many of your peers will. Interning early will also allow you put down that extra bit of experience on your resume, helping you to stand out from the crowd when it comes time to leave the hallowed halls of uni life and enter the real world.

Interning is all about getting as much workplace experience as possible and getting your name out there. Interning in your first year will help you to do that earlier than many of your friends and will give you sick bragging rights when you can legitimately say you know a person who can help with (insert problem/opportunity here).

Shannon Coward

Shannon Coward is a third year Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Queensland. She enjoys period dramas, doughnuts and a good nap.

Image: Ellen Munro, Flickr Creative Commons license