In the business world, there is often debate about what constitutes employment, and whether internships are a good thing. Now, this is a largely subjective concept, with many people seeing the benefit of internships, while others see them as exploitative. Simply put, an internship is basically work experience offered by a company for a certain length of time. The role is almost always unpaid and designed to show how well the candidates learn and adapt before hiring them.
Of course, a lot of people feel this is an archaic concept, and that an offer of employment should either be made or not made. However, for some, it represents a simpler path into a career they may not have been able to get into normally. So, we’re going to spend time looking at the positives and negatives of internships, meaning you can decide for yourself if they are right for you.
Pros – workplace experience
Of course, the principal draw of internships for a lot of people is that they provide workplace experience. Students and young people have the chance to experience what it’s like rubbing shoulders with working professionals. It’s an invaluable insight that will set you in good stead later down the career path. You can gain skills that are invaluable for gaining and keeping employment.
Cons – you will be unpaid
It’s important to understand that internships, for the most part, are unpaid. Yes, that’s right, unpaid. No money. You need to be aware of that and prepared to accept that before signing up for one. For a lot of people, this is where they draw the line, and we can’t say we blame them. Who wants to put time, effort, and hard work into something if you’re not going to be paid for it afterward?
Pros – build contacts
Another crucial tool provided by internships is the ability to start networking and building contacts. You have a unique opportunity here to ensure you make a great impression, and put yourself in a good position for the future. Interacting with people in the working arena can come in really useful when it’s time to start looking for work.
Cons – you’re a dogsbody
Let’s be honest, when you take part in an internship, you’re basically going to be treated like an assistant. This means you’re unlikely to be doing things that interest you, or that you want to do. For the most part, it’s going to be things like grabbing the coffee, collecting the bosses drycleaning, and possibly taking a few calls, and that’s about it.
Pros – you could see if the field is really for you
Many people think they know the sort of career path they want to go down, but, they soon find it’s not for them. Internships give you a taste of the field you’re interested in, so you know whether or not it’s for you. You’d hate to put in all the effort and work of searching for and securing employment, only to discover you hate your job. So this helps you in that respect.
Cons – may not help with workplace entry
Don’t think that all internships are a gateway to the working world, that’s not always the case. Sometimes an internship may actually be worthless because some employers see them as meaningless. In fact, in a lot of situations, employers would rather hire someone with real working experience rather than an intern.
As you can see, there are positives and negatives to taking on an internship, especially these days. The debate rages about whether they are worthwhile, and, it’s really a matter of opinion. What we would say is, make sure you are careful, and ensure you thoroughly research the position before applying so you know exactly what you’re dealing with.