The choice between earning money for personal upkeep and gaining professional experience is a tough one. If you are just starting the academic year at a university, you are likely facing this dilemma.
Internships offer an opportunity to work at challenging and ambitious positions. They will help you not only gain valuable experience but also make yourself much more employable after graduation. Unfortunately, many internships don’t offer any salary (or offer a tiny one).
On the other hand, jobs will provide you with a steady income and save you from the horrors of student loans. However, there aren’t many jobs that offer ambitious positions to students without a degree or any experience.
The struggle in choosing between internship and job is understandable. To make this decision easier, ask yourself these 3 questions:
1. What kind of experience do I need and am interested in?
An internship will require a lot of your time and engagement and offer experience in return. This is a valuable prize; however, it will lose its value if you aren’t genuinely interested in the particular position the internship offers. Thus, if you want to add another line to your resume, forget it
If you work for free and commit time and effort into that work, then the least you should do is enjoy it. If the position doesn’t spark your interest, don’t take it. In such a case, a job might be a more favourable option.
An internship requires your engagement but offers experience in return
Overall, the experience is the most prominent advantage internships hold over part-time jobs. They are created to allow students to gain professional experience and work at high positions in well-established companies. A part-time student job will not be any help in climbing your career ladder. It will not provide any experience that might be truly valuable to your future employer.
2. How much money do I really need?
Beforehand, let’s get the facts out there. Internships don’t offer big salaries. Quite often, they don’t provide any form of payment. Unless you have some financial support or a little money saved up, it will be tough, if not impossible, to get around without any earnings.
Internships that have satisfactory salaries are rather extremely tough to get
There are, of course, those internships that have very satisfactory salaries, but such are often extremely tough to get (and might require prior professional experience). If you are struggling financially to keep your life together, the answer is obvious. You should search for offers that include a decent salary.
However, if you have enough money to live comfortably, then a little more for additional pleasures is not worth giving up the perks an internship can offer you.
3. What can I do to achieve MY success?
If you somewhat know what you want to achieve in life career-wise, then being a student is the perfect time to start taking the steps up your career ladder. If you have very ambitious goals and strive for high positions after you graduate, then there is no better time. And that’s precisely what internships are for! They’re the first baby steps up that ladder.
Having a degree isn’t as big an accomplishment nowadays as it used to be
Lately, having a degree is not as big of an accomplishment as it was some time ago. Employers require vast experience and search for those students, who stand out among the rest.
However, if your desired future job doesn’t require that additional experience or you don’t mind achieving your goals later in life, then you needn’t be so career-oriented. In this case, getting a job and earning money to have a more comfortable financial start after graduation is a better choice.
An ideal solution would be to either find an internship that pays well or do both at the same time. However, as mentioned above, well-paid internships are rare and hard to get. Doing both seems like a perfect option, except it will be very time-consuming and exhausting.
Try to define your priorities and commit to what’s important to you
What might be a more realistic approach to the situation is doing both interchangeably. For example, to work for one year and the other one take on an internship. Doing both in one year and switching between the academic year and the summer vacation also seems like the right solution.
However, if you are not as career-focused, there is nothing wrong with waiting until graduation to start climbing the career ladder. It’s essential to get your priorities straightened up and commit to what’s important to you; otherwise, you will only waste your time.
In conclusion, it truly depends, and there is no one right path. If you have decided that you want to gather professional experience, then I would recommend searching for both: internships and jobs.
Each offer is different and will bring various benefits and possibilities. Even though there is a smaller chance of finding an ambitious job during the academic year, the opportunity is still there, and if you are stubborn enough in your search, then you might get lucky.
Are you considering taking up a job after reading this article? Be sure to read this article in which we describe the advantages of this decision.