In today’s competitive world, a good academic record alone is not enough to get you into the job of your dreams when you are starting out. Most companies prefer freshers with some work experience (not a mandatory requirement) as their future employees. This is where internships come into the picture. Internships provide you with real industry experience that could add value to your CV while applying for the jobs.
Good internships enable students to learn a wide range of skills such as the basics of wireframing, benchmarking, SEO operation and other technical skills depending on the nature of the internship. Though gaining the required expertise in hard skills is integral for your career trajectory, soft skills are something that you’d always need, no matter what the nature of your career is. These skills are the first thing that your future employers may look for in you. Hence, let’s take a look at some of the top soft skills that you could learn and improve through an internship:
- Communication and interpersonal skills – Good communication skills are essential to succeed in both your professional and personal life. It is one of the top skills that potential recruiters search for in you and something that can be improved through internships. During an internship, you might have to communicate with your project managers, write and respond to the emails, schedule meetings, articulate your ideas, etc. All these tasks help you improve various aspects of communication, including your oral and written skills.
- Teamwork and Collaboration – You might be great at most hard and soft skills at an individual level, however, you’ll be a part of a team in a professional setting. Hence, most employers expect you to be a team player who could work and communicate well with the team. Internships provide you an opportunity to improve this skill. During the internships you get a chance to work and collaborate in teams, where each person’s contribution matters equally. This teaches you to work with other people with diverse ideas, meet deadlines, understand your own strengths and weaknesses, etc.
- Time Management and Multitasking – Effective time management is essential to find a balance between your daily tasks in the office and personal life. Besides, good time management allows you to achieve your desired goals with less effort within the given time. There is no better way than an internship to learn effective time management strategies. During internships you may have to manage several projects at the same time, with stringent deadlines. It’s not always possible to finish a task within the stipulated time because all these tasks may require regular updates. However, as you move on, you’ll learn to be consistent with your work and will be able to adequately manage a number of tasks, without missing a deadline.
- Assertiveness – During internships, often you will be asked to do things that are beyond your capacity. This may not just pertain to things that are above your skill level, but also tasks that take up too much of your time. You might have projects that require you to be more present than you have time for, and you might come across teammates who refuse to do as much as you do. These instances teach you to be assertive, and say ‘no’ when you need to. Assertiveness is an important skill in a workplace.
- Critical Thinking – Most recruiters value employees who possess good critical thinking skills. These skills are needed in all aspects of a business as well as in all departments of an organization. Hence, to succeed in your career, you need to learn and improve your critical thinking skills. Internships will help you do that. During internships you might face a new challenge every day and with all these challenges you’ll learn new ways of handling an issue. This exercise improves your critical thinking skills, where you are taught to not take something for its face value, but truly understand why it may be beneficial, to whom, and under what circumstances.
- Accountability – This is an inevitable skill you need to have at the workplace. Accountability refers to taking responsibility for your work (be it right or wrong), decisions, performance, etc. Internships teach you to be accountable for your own work by providing you hands-on experience to the day to day work in the workplace.
To conclude, an internship is the best way to learn hard skills and soft skills required to succeed and survive at a job. Remember, in this competitive world, employers consider soft skills equally important as hard skills. Hence, even if you are great in all technical skills, it is important to gain some internship experiences and learn all the skills it has to offer.