Internship As Work Experience

internshipDoes internship count as work experience?

Taken from a column in the JamaicaObserver.com pertaining to internship opportunities.

Dear Career Advisor:

I am in my final year at college and I have never had a job. I have noticed that almost all job advertisements ask for previous work experience. I am considering taking an internship before I graduate. Do you think employers will accept this as experience? My programme is very hectic and I have limited access to funds therefore I would not want to do something that will not benefit me.

Yours truly,

Marva B


Dear Marva:

You are absolutely correct; employers do want to see that new graduates have some form of experience and they most certainly accept participation in a well-structure internship as relevant experience for entry level positions. An internship is one way of overcoming the lack of experience dilemma. The benefits would include:

  • Gaining general work related and discipline specific knowledge
  • Developing skills and competences
  • Building your confidence in relation to job performance
  • Acquiring a frame of reference for evidence of your abilities
  • Increasing the possibility of landing a job.

If your academic programme requires or offers the option of taking an internship for academic credit do make full use of the opportunity. Alternatively, you may choose to take a not for credit internship or even one for which there is no remuneration. Here are a few strategies you might use to help you land a life-changing internship position.

  1. Make a list of the organizations, large and small, at which you would like to intern.
  2. Identify the specific knowledge and skills that you have to offer the organizations.
  3. Determine the benefits you would like to derive from the internship experience.
  4. Do your research. Find out which of these organizations do offer internship programmes. Don’t limit yourself to those companies with existing programmes. If you make a good case, your offer of service or request for accommodation could be considered by even those companies without established internship programmes.
  5. Prepare a professionally appealing cover letter and résumé making sure to tailor them to match the needs and culture of each of your target organizations.
  6. Begin making plans for your accommodation away from home or your current school location.
  7. Engage your networking links to get doors of opportunity opened, your professors, mentors, as well as family and friends are good persons to begin with.

The search for the right internship can be as tedious as finding an actual job but don’t give up. Use similar strategies as you would for a job search and be sure to begin your search early. Now is a good time to begin if you intend to land one for the summer.

All the best.

Sourced from the JamaicaObserver. Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student affairs at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at mailto:careeradvisor@ncu.edu.jm