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Internship vs. a Job: Which is Best For You?
Whether you’re a recent graduate, looking to explore a new career, or just looking to shake things up, you’ve probably thought about an internship or a job. However, finding out which is right for you can be challenging. In this article, we will go through the basic facts of what an internship and job are. We will then answer some common questions to help you decide which is best for you!
We will go into greater detail about both internships and jobs later in this article, but let’s start with a brief description of each as our starting point!
What is an internship?
An internship is typically a short term employment position in which people learn and perform a job. They may have very little to no experience doing that job. Internships may be paid or unpaid, and are common options among college students and young professionals (though anyone can usually apply for internships).
Related: How to get an internship guide
What is a job?
You probably know what a job is, but we’ll talk about it for a second too! A job is a more permanent position in which you will perform one or more specific duties. Jobs will typically require you to have experience or an education in that related field. No matter where you work, some on the job training usually takes place. Entry level positions are sometimes options, but for the most part, you should be familiar with the work you are applying for.
Deciding what’s right for you: Internship vs. job
Instead of making a “pros and cons” list comparing internships and jobs, we compiled a list stating the basic details of each. One person’s “con” might be another person’s “pro,” so we think this is the best approach!
Typically short term
Internships are usually not long term positions. They will usually last anywhere from a few months to a year and then be over. This means that they are common among people who are new to a career field and don’t have a full time position or for college students who may only have a few months at a time to dedicate to working full-time.
May be paid or unpaid
It is not always guaranteed that an internship will be paid. Some employers view internships as education and experience “payment” for any work that you do. If an internship is unpaid, it should be clearly stated. There are legal obligations that the company must follow to protect you from being treated unfairly. It’s up to you to decide if that is something that works for you.
Typically require little to no experience
One of the appealing aspects about internships is that they usually don’t require you to have experience. For students who are studying engineering, an internship in their junior or senior year is a great way to put what they’ve learned into practice without having to have had a job in the industry before. Lack of required experience, however, does not mean that internships do not get competitive. You should treat searching for internships the same way you would approach finding a job.
Live in a new place
While it’s not true that you’ll have to move for every internship, it’s not unheard of. College students may often choose to intern somewhere over their summers that is out of state. This is a great chance to live somewhere new and get work experience but have the comfort of knowing you will only need to be there temporarily.
Don’t miss: How to find a job or internship with Handshake
When an employer hires new employees, their hope is that those employees remain with the company for an extended period of time. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work at jobs for short periods of time, but that time might be an important factor to keep in mind when applying for positions.
Usually require experience or formal education
While some learning will happen when you accept a new job, the bulk of your education will likely happen before, which means a lot of jobs will require a college degree in a specific field or related experience from previous jobs.
Depending on the type of job you are applying determines whether education and experience are something a company can be more flexible with.
Hourly or salaried pay
A job will always provide you with some type of compensation for your work. Some workers will be paid on an hourly basis, while others may be paid a salary which is slightly different. A salary means that you will usually work a set number of hours each week and be paid the same amount. This is an important matter to discuss with a potential employer before being hired.
Can offer room for advancement
Depending upon where you work, there may be a lot of room for you to grow as an employee and a person. Lots of companies these days try to provide training to their employees to keep them educated and engaged in the new things happening in their field.
If your goal is to start at an entry level position at a company and work your way up, make sure there is room to do that. It will be notoriously harder in some jobs than others to do this. Be realistic with yourself about how long it might take and what you’ll need to do to advance.
Also see: 10 tips for finding your ideal job
Usually provide benefits
The last point we will make about jobs is about the benefits that come with a job. By benefits we are referring to things like insurance, childcare, and retirement plans. Each job will have different regulations, but typically, if you plan to stay with a company for a long time, they will provide you with some or a few added benefits. This is not guaranteed for every job, but is certainly common for full time employees that stay at one job.
Also see: Top internships for high school students
Ask yourself a few questions
After reading through the above sections, you hopefully have a better understanding of the differences between internships and jobs. You may even be beginning to think about which is right for you. However, if you still aren’t sure, there are a few questions below that might help you make a choice.
Questions To Consider
Frequently asked questions about internships vs. jobs
What percentage of internships turn into jobs?
Do you get paid more after an internship?
Is interning the same as working?