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Internships can help teens become job ready by developing workforce readiness skills and making connections that could lead to employment down the road.

Importance of an Internship

The transition from high school or college to what’s next can be intimidating for many teens, especially as they’re taking on more adult responsibilities that will shape their futures. Do they have the right workplace skills to get a job? What job would be a good fit?

An internship is a great way to explore career interests and build skills to be job ready.

What does an intern do?

Tasks at an internship will depend on the company, but regardless of your age or the field you’re interning in, you’ll learn what the company is like, what type of work employees spend time on and how everyone’s efforts ladder up to the company’s goals.

Some teens start as early as high school to get an internship during their summers. Internships are a great way to explore a potential major or field that they are interested in pursuing but don’t know much about, in addition to being an awesome way to keep teens engaged and learning during the summer months. An added bonus to learning workplace readiness skills, sometimes internships can lead to teens finding a great mentor to help steer them in the right career direction. After all, in an internship, you’ll meet all kinds of people, from managers to Vice Presidents, and you’ll sometimes get experiences working with customers and clients.

For college students, an internship can also be a game changer when it comes to securing a job when teens are just a few months away from graduation.

Why should you get an internship?

There are two big reasons to get an internship:

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    You’ll build what every employer is looking for – experience. When you scroll through jobs on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, you will see that almost all jobs now require experience, and you build all that great experience by working at internships.

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    You will have the ability to network and build personal relationships. Not only are these great skills to develop but having relationships from an internship can be very helpful in getting job opportunities or transitioning from intern to employee. In fact, according to an article in Forbes, if you are a college graduate and you are working at a paid internship, almost 60% of the time that internship will turn into a job offer.

What are the benefits of an internship?

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    Internships can help build a path for permanent employment with that company. Many internships have programs that will lead you to getting a job once completed. If they don’t and you apply for a role later or in a different department, having experience working at that company on your resume will make you stand out amongst other applicants.

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    You will be able to learn new systems at different work environments. Familiarizing yourself with different technology, programs and processes makes you a stronger candidate when applying for a job – you’ll be easier to onboard and more prepared to hit the ground running.

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    You will learn what skills you need to practice more and what you already are good at. At your internship, you’ll be able to learn areas you can improve – whether it’s customer service, writing a professional email or contributing to existing processes. And since almost all interviewers will ask you about your skillset, after an experience at an internship, you’ll be able to discuss your strengths.

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    Most importantly, you will learn where and what kind of environment you would like to work in. What is the work culture you are looking for? What are “musts” that you require on your checklist that you would want from an employer? All these questions can be answered while gaining real world experiences and talking to peers, mentors and colleagues at internships.

Do interns make money?

In an effort to greater achieve equity, many companies now offer paid internships. This will usually be clear in the job description, and you can confirm in your questions about the role and the company following your interview (just make sure it’s not the only question you ask!).

How to get an internship

Check out websites like LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster to help you or your teen secure their next internship. Pro tip: Be sure to check out the career pages on company websites of companies you’re interested in.

And be sure to prepare for your interview – check out these interview tips to know what to expect, what to do and how to follow up afterward to ensure you get the internship.

Stay in the Know

Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides workforce readiness programs and mentorship that help young people build communication skills and confidence, as well as explore career options and prepare for the workforce. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest resources and stories.

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