The True Value of an Internship

By: Caroline O’Neal

As a college student, my understanding of the significance of pursuing an internship has grown substantially. It offers a valuable chance to develop skills and explore a specific field of interest. The knowledge acquired within the classroom truly comes to life when applied in a real-world context. Through internships, I have developed essential abilities such as effective communication, collaboration, and efficient time management, which I believe are necessary for everyone. Additionally, internships provide exposure to different industries, enabling individuals to make sure their chosen career path is the right fit. I have also come to appreciate the value of establishing professional relationships for my future career. Whether through professors, coworkers, friends, or family, the potential connections that can be established hold great potential for advancing along your career path.

Interning this summer at Kester Search Group, I have seen first hand the value that an internship can have when interviewing for potential jobs.  Hearing the recruiters speak with candidates each day, I have learned how to best utilize your time as an intern to transfer those skills to future roles.  KSG’s Director of Client Relations says, “Internships are a great way to see if your “dream job” is actually right for you. I thought I wanted to be in hospital administration and my internship made me realize that was not the right path for me (tons of spreadsheets and data!). It did confirm that I loved healthcare though, so I just pivoted to another area.”   

Below is a list of best practices that can help your ease your search for an internship, or first time job:

Steps for Landing the Right Internship:

  1. Expand Your Involvement
  • Join clubs and organizations related to your field of interest.
  • Participate in class and engage with professors to develop strong connections.
  • Leverage your school connections by networking with alumni or professionals in desired industries.
  1. Enhance Your Professional Profile
  • Create a resume highlighting your skills, experiences, and achievements.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile to connect with industry experts. 
  • Seek guidance from school advisors who can provide advice on refining your profile. 
  1. Conduct Thorough Research
  • Identify potential companies, organizations, or industries that align with your career goals.
  • Use keywords such as specific locations or types of work to narrow down your search.
  • Explore job opportunities listed on school job sites or platforms like Clemson Joblink (for example).
  1. Follow Up and Stay Proactive 
  • After submitting applications, ensure you follow up with a message expressing interest.
  • Maintain communication with professionals who can provide guidance throughout the process.

One of our Executive Recruiters, Maddie Calloway, put it perfectly when she said, “Internships are valuable experiences for career development. You can make the most out of an internship by developing your network, taking initiative, and embracing new challenges. Through my recruiting career, I have seen how important it is to have skills and experience on your resume.”

Landing the right role takes time and effort. By actively involving yourself in relevant activities, building strong relationships, and improving your professional profile, you increase your chances of securing your future full time  job.