The Preparation

Graduate School Internships

As a graduate student, you’re already well on your way to a successful professional career. Whether you started graduate school right after completing your undergraduate degree or you went back to school after years in the workplace, you are already becoming an expert in your chosen field. So why would graduate students need to pursue summer internships? You know that the academic environment can be quite different from what you’ll encounter once you start working after school. A summer internship in the field you’re studying in graduate school can be the perfect way to prepare yourself fully to jump right in to the workforce after you complete your degree. Below, we’ve outlined just a few of the powerful benefits that summer internships offer graduate students.

Exploring Your Career Options

For many graduate students, the advanced degree opens up a plethora of job options; you’ll have the choice of a variety of industries and positions once you finish school. While having options available to you is a great opportunity, it can also be a bit daunting. What are all these disparate fields really like? Will you enjoy applying what you’ve learned in graduate school in that particular position? Which one should you choose? When you use your summer breaks to explore a career or two through an internship, you’ll be able to answer these questions with confidence. Summer internships allow you to experience for yourself what it will be like to go to a particular job every day. You’ll learn about the industry in which you’re interning and whether it’s a good match for your personality, interests, and ambitions. You’ll also learn about yourself through internships. Everyday experience with a career field you thought you’d love might show you that your preferences are a little different than you imagined.

Depending upon the length of your graduate program, you may have multiple summers open in which you can try out multiple internships to investigate a variety of careers and industries. When you complete a summer internship, you’ll be ready to say, “Yes! This is the career for me!” or “That wasn’t quite right; I’m going to keep exploring my options.” Either way, that’s extremely valuable knowledge and experience, thanks to your smart choice to pursue a summer internship!

Building Your Resume

While you’ve achieved a lot of expertise and valuable academic expertise through hard work during your graduate studies, it’s a tough truth that employers don’t always understand how much value the details on the education section of your resume really deliver. Adding internship experience to your resume is a great way to prove that your graduate degree has real-world applications from which your potential employer will benefit. Whether your summer internship is similar to the job you’ll ultimately be pursuing after graduation or not, it will still show employers that you’ve got what it takes to succeed in the post-academic world. The skills you’ll practice and develop in summer internships are the skills that will help you hit the ground running in your permanent position. You’ve already got field expertise under your belt from your time in the world of graduate students; add a summer internship to your resume to prove it to employers.

Proving Your Interest

In some fields of graduate study, a transition into a professional field isn’t a clear path. Some potential employers can be skeptical about students’ commitment to the field as they’re applying for permanent employment. A hiring manager might look at the graduate degree on your resume and wonder, “Does he know what he’s getting into in this profession outside academia?” or “Will she be disappointed in what the professional experiences here have to offer after all the challenges of graduate school?” Those are questions you don’t want the person reviewing your resume to be asking. Stop potential employers from wondering by adding experience with internships to your resume. When you’ve already experienced time within a similar career field, you’ll be showing employers that you know what you’re getting into. You’ll also demonstrate that you’re committed to and genuinely interested in the professional field you’re applying to; you’re not just desperate to escape academia any way you can. Employers know they’re getting an informed applicant who’s ready to take the leap into a professional career.  

Accelerating Your Career Advancement

Professional experience gained through summer internships means that you’ve got a leg up before you even show up for your first day at your post-graduation job. Surveys have shown that employers tend to offer higher starting salaries to candidates who have completed internships. Now, that’s the kind of “leg up” that you want to have! As you invest time and energy into finding and succeeding at your summer internship, remember that it’s an investment that’s likely to pay off when it comes time to seek permanent employment.

Finding Summer Internships for Graduate Students

Now that you know the many benefits that a summer internship can give you, are you ready to find the internship that will make your time off from school more valuable? Internships.com gives you the resources you need to find the perfect summer internship. Search by keyword to see internship positions that match your field of graduate study or to find summer internships in your specific area of interest. You can also narrow your search by location, company, compensation, and full- or part-time status. Start your search now to get closer to enjoying the potential payoff of summer internships for graduate students.