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Why Interns are Important 😎

The word “intern” used to be synonymous with not much more than getting coffee, making copies, and picking up lunch for the office. Maybe it still does for many employers and students looking for that type of job experience. But if you really think about how important interns are, you’d realize that interns can be valuable in so many areas of a business. 

How interns benefit ...

Let’s look at the most obvious benefiters, the interns themselves. Students will most often tell you they want an internship to “gain real-life experience.” A simple answer, but a true one, nonetheless. Career development is not complete without hands-on knowledge in your designated field of study, especially when employers rely on experience listed on resumés in the first steps of hiring. Real-world experience is fundamental to introducing you to the workforce, because, let’s face it, you won’t get those skills in a college classroom. In an actual office, you’ll: 

  • Interact with people of all ages – and, quite possibly, have to endure dad jokes 
  • Learn office etiquette  
  • Handle tasks that will be examined by active industry experts 
  • Create or edit content for real customers or clients 
  • Have more opportunities to network outside of school events. This form of networking can be even more advantageous without other students around. 
  • Make connections  

Internships also allow you to figure out what kind of worker you are and what work environment you want to be in. Do you like to work primarily alone? Collaborate with team members? Do you like an informal culture, or do you want a more rigid structure for your everyday tasks? Many students won’t know exactly what they prefer until they experience different work environments during an internship. Work culture is not discussed in school much because no two work environments are alike. 

Let’s not forget the most important aspect of an internship: discovering if you actually like your major! The idea of getting all the way to an internship with your college major and possibly having to change it is stressful. But, like we said, college classwork is not what you will be doing in the actual workforce. You might discover your major just isn’t for you, or the area of your major you thought you would like is not right either. It’s better to find out before you graduate or get a full-time job that you want to change what you want to do. 

How employers benefit ... 

We also need to look at who else benefits from internships: the employer! The employer is often forgotten when thinking of the positive impacts of internships, but they, too, can get a lot out of this relationship. The first is simply having extra hands to help around the office. If it’s a busy time of year for the business, interns can relieve a lot of stress by helping with the workload. The other team members can take on more as well or put more focus onto their more advanced projects. 

There is also the idea that interns can turn into future full-time employees for the business. When these employees start as interns, a lot of onboarding and training is already taken care of. You can also mold interns into the type of employee you are looking for -- and that fit your corporate culture. They are a blank canvas that can pick up the desired work habits you look for when hiring. This takes away the obstacle of external hires not assimilating to the job.  

Interns are test runs without a lot of risk for the employer if the relationship doesn’t work out. This way, employers can take full advantage of this type of hire for assessing potential employees. The blank-canvas approach to interns can also help employers hone their skills as mentors. Students need mentors to guide them in the right direction with job decisions and to help them make the move from school life to work life. 

Another aspect that could benefit employers is the increased exposure. Collaboration with colleges and universities can lead to long-lasting relationships to build internship programs and get more attention from campuses. The increased exposure can lead to positive publicity as well. Businesses that offer internships are well-respected because they promote community involvement. 

And employers shouldn’t forget the advantage of a fresh set of eyes looking over things in the office. Interns bring a new perspective and can see things that other colleagues may not because they are so used to looking at the company content and processes. Interns are usually students, and they tend to come equipped with the newest and most modern lessons in their field of study that they can bring to the table. 

More employer advantages to having interns: 

  • Increases productivity 
  • Improves supervisory skills of senior-level employees 
  • Keeps college-educated talent in the area 
  • Exposes young professionals to the company’s brand 

With all of these advantages that interns can bring, there’s no longer a need for them to only do coffee runs or scan and shred documents. They are the future leaders of business and need to be trained as such. And you have to admit: Interns will make your day more interesting ... and fun! 

Miranda Federinko

Miranda Federinko is a Marketing Intern at KIG. She is a senior Marketing Major and part of the Cook Honors College at IUP. Women in Business, Society of Human Resources, and the College of Business Advisory Council are some of the organizations she is involved in on campus. Outside of work she enjoys cooking, reading, and trying to befriend every cat she comes across.

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