Why you should take an internship outside your field of study

June 01, 2017
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Studying a law degree right now but have always been fascinated by photography? Or perhaps you’re doing a Tafe course in art history but also have a huge admiration for fashion design? Undertaking an internship is great for learning more about your desired future workplace, even when it’s outside your field of study.

Career opportunities

Doing an internship that isn’t corresponding with your degree title isn’t a dumb idea – it actually increases your opportunities post-graduation when you’re looking for a full-time job. If you’re a communications student majoring in media but you’re curious to see what it’s like to work in PR, publishing or fashion, it’s a sign that you’re prepared to be diverse and be open to various opportunities.

Many different kinds of careers actually link so it’s more useful than it sounds when undertaking an internship outside your field of study. Business can link with fashion, just like fashion can link with publishing. You’re broadening your career choices and discovering new ideas about yourself and your future.

It adds variety to your resume

Your resume and LinkedIn is obviously important when selling yourself to potential employers – and looking different is good. You want to stand out. If it’s all law based, then what makes you different from Jeff and Julie who also want the spot at the best Law firm in the state? If you can show that you have a variety of cool hobbies and skills, as well as showing you’ve actually immersed yourself in a real-life workplace – it’s going to look bloody impressive.

Learning new skills

For a moment, forget it’s for future employers or for anyone else to see that you’re a superstar – know that this is for yourself too. You’re going to learn a whole lot of new skills and have a much stronger understanding of the type of workplace you see yourself in or out of your field of study. Imagine learning how to communicate using fancy business terms or learning how a film set works. These skills can become extremely valuable in future too, because you can understand how different kinds of clients work as you have been in their role once before when interning.

Building a network

Building a network is important in any industry. These contacts will help you out and someday you could be helping out a newbie too. Whether they’re from small firms to large companies, don’t underestimate the power of a contact because connections are almost everything when you’re fresh out of a degree with nowhere to go. This is where LinkedIn also comes in handy!

Testing if you’re in the right degree

This is probably the most important. Is your photography side-hustle now proving to be your main priority over your science degree? Finding out you’re going to have to break up with your degree or major because they came in at second best doesn’t have to be shitty – but it does need to happen and the faster you do it, the better. This happens to a lot of people so you’re not the only one. Be thankful in a way that you found out earlier rather than at the end of your degree – or worse – five years into your career.

Even if you hated the internship, dreading every morning for that hour–long commute – be proud that you accomplished something like that. Internships are hard work, so instead of thinking it was a waste of time or that you felt like you were being used (because you most-likely were), you find out what was right or wrong for you, and that’s what’s important.

Claudia Siron

Claudia studies Media Arts and Production at the University of Technology, Sydney, is a major film and television fan and her favourite director is Quentin Tarantino.

Image: The Devil Wears Prada official Facebook page

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