By Hoda Hussein
Frustrated with employment rejections due to lack of work experience? Finding paid work in high school can be very difficult when you haven’t had a job before. Internships are a great way to get real work experience, and prepare for a good career after high school.
As a high school junior, I had no work experience before doing an internship for CareerOneStop. I learned so much about what it’s like to work in a government office, and believe this internship is going to open up so many opportunities in the future.
If you are a high school student wondering how an internship could be useful, here are some of the advantages I learned about during my internship, and how one might help you in the professional world.
- Gain valuable work experience
This internship enabled me to gain first-hand exposure to what it’s like to work in the real world while only being a high school student. It gave me the opportunity to discover computer applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and allowed me to see/feel what it’s like to be working in a government office.
- Figure out your work style
Internships can help you figure out what type of things you want to do, but also what you don’t want to be doing. This will potentially help you avoid investing money and time to obtain a degree in a field, or choose a type of career you have no interest in. During my internship, I have learned that sitting behind a computer and doing computer work is not the type of work I want to get in to. I learned that I really like to help people and do more hands-on work.
- Develop and refine your skills
During an internship you learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses. You can get feedback on your strengths from supervisors and coworkers but you also get the chance to discover something new about yourself that others see in you. I learned that I am a very quick learner and work well without much guidance. I am also very organized and manage my time very well. These are all basic skills that will get you a long way in the professional world.
- Opportunities to network with professionals
Networking is typically the best way to meet with employers and find jobs. A huge advantage of having an internship is it allows you to connect with people who may help you along the road with finding a job. You should always stay connected with your supervisor even when your internship comes to an end. You can do this by asking them to serve as a reference, connecting with them through LinkedIn, or having them write you a recommendation letter.
- Financial compensation
Some internships are paid which means you’re getting valuable work experience to help you succeed while also earning money. This paid internship has motivated me to save up my money to pay for my college tuition and expenses to use when I get older.
By pursuing an internship as a high school student, I am learning more about what career paths are right for me. In addition, I’m gaining valuable work experience in a possible career field for my future.
Taking advantage of internship opportunities during your high school years is an amazing way to get a head-start on your job search and career field. To learn more about available internship positions make sure to check out the internship opportunities on the CareerOneStop website.
- Learn more about getting work experience, including internships
- Search for internships in your local area
Hoda Hussein was a summer intern with CareerOneStop’s marketing and outreach team. She is a high-school junior in St Paul, Minnesota, and plans to pursue a career as a pediatrician.