When many high school students job hunt, they often seek out positions within retail or the food service industry. After all, those gigs have long been the provenance of teen employment. However, a growing number of companies and institutions have started to expand their internship programs, happily opening their doors to high school kids. This is a great way to get a taste of and toehold within a business that sparks your interest. And we strongly encourage you to start investigating internship options near you.
Without a doubt, internships are fantastic learning opportunities. Indeed, they provide you with practical, hands-on experience that allows you to gain a better understanding of the specific industry in which you’re working. Sure, you might be inspired to apply for a publishing internship because you love literature. But we’re guessing that you don’t have a firm grasp on how a production editor creates a schedule or how a marketing executive decides to advertise a newly published paperback. The knowledge you’ll acquire is insight that you can definitely build upon should you continue working within the industry. And the exposure you receive will likely introduce you to new career possibilities you hadn’t thought about yet.
Beyond trade “secrets,” internships also provide you with basic office experience. Naturally, you’ll learn how to carry yourself in a professional setting. And you will likely become familiar with a variety of administrative tasks – be it creating a mail merge, collating important documents or simply setting up a department lunch (for example). Skill-sets such as these are a valuable addition to any resume, especially for individuals just beginning their professional lives. Even better, they are often applicable to most office settings, no matter the industry in which you’re working.
Just as important, landing an internship also lets you begin building your professional network. While your co-workers and colleagues will likely be of varying ages and levels, you’ll undoubtedly find new friends and mentors. And you can hopefully turn to these individuals when you embark on future job hunts. They can (theoretically) provide you with references, introduce you to other industry people and/or let you know about job openings at various companies.
Lastly, an internship can also make you a more competitive college applicant. Indeed, admissions officers are likely to interpret your tenure as a demonstration of maturity, curiosity and foresight. Securing an internship also shows tenacity and ambition. Moreover, if it’s aligned with your potential and/or intended college major, it will underscore your interest and dedication to that particular discipline.
Internships are no longer the domain of college students and/or recent graduates. Each year, greater numbers of high school students, looking to explore different career options, apply. And no matter whether your dream is to be an accountant or work for NASA, an internship might just be the step you need to ignite your professional dreams!