During my last semester of college, I kept telling myself one thing over and over; I need to find a job after graduation, not an internship. Or at least that’s what I thought.

Five years, 160 credits, two majors, one minor, several internships and tons of extracurricular activities later, I thought I was ready for my first non-internship gig. While finishing up critiques en français and philosophical analyses, I was simultaneously bursting out of the college bubble and applying, testing and interviewing for a position at Airfoil.

A few days after graduation, I accepted an internship at Airfoil. As it turns out, an internship was the best choice I could have made for myself.

It’s my new belief that recent grads shouldn’t turn up their nose at internship opportunities after college. Here’s why:

  • An internship gives you more time to refine what skills you already have and gain new ones in a learning environment. Just because you went to college, doesn’t mean you’re completely prepared to take on a salaried position. Getting good grades, specializing in a field of study and taking internships during college doesn’t mean you’ll come out prepared to take on what lies ahead. I’ve learned this lesson during my internship and have made consider progress this summer in areas that I didn’t even know needed polishing. 
  • Mistakes are inevitable but correctable. Internships give you the chance to build up your intuition and develop the critical thinking skills that can help you avoid making silly mistakes later on. Grooming these skills early on in your career will make you even more valuable in the future. For instance, I’ve improved my critical thinking skills this summer by learning how to anticipate what follow up questions my team might ask after I turn in a project. By doing so, I help move work along much more quickly. 
  • Take this time to see if the work and company culture are a good fit for you. If you like what you do, internships are a great foot in the door. If you do a great job, you could get one. If the job isn’t for you, you’ll be that much more experienced when you look for your next adventure. For example, I embody similar values as Airfoil, such as collaboration and fun, like when our Michigan office cheered on the Tigers at Comerica Park this summer (very fun!).

My internship after college has proven to be an invaluable time of learning and professional growth. It’s prepared me for the next step in my professional life as I have recently transitioned from an intern to account coordinator at Airfoil in our California office.

Did you take an internship after college? What lessons do you have to share based on your own experiences?

Favazza.jpg~Jamie Favazza is an account coordinator at Airfoil, a high tech/marcomm Agency with offices in Silicon Valley and Detroit.