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Nov 21, 2016 11:10 AM EST

Internships Expand Network and Career Options, Says College Professor

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Internships give students a great opportunity to apply what they have learned in school, transforming head knowledge into applied knowledge. But did you know that being an intern doesn't just help you learn more through experience, it also helps you expand your network and reach?

That's what Patricia Moran, an adjunct professor at Middlesex County College, told MyCentralJersey.com.

"[I]nternships give you an opportunity to expand your network and learn from professionals in the field," Moran, who holds a doctorate from Walden University, said. "This network can provide you with career guidance and assistance on how you should move forward in getting employment or gaining additional skills."

Many of us experience being an intern at some point of our lives, she said. Those who enroll in education certification programs, for example, become student-teachers sometime in their college life as part of the requirements for certification. Others might have experienced being an intern during summer.

Whatever form of internship one goes through, Moran says it is very different from volunteering, in that it is a structured form of assignment with clearly defined tasks and goals. Thus, it provides students with the opportunity to apply classroom learning into reality.

Internships "provide students with a chance to get their feet wet and often act as validation of a career choice," Moran says. Networks created through internships bolster a student's chances in acquiring new skills and building a great career. Companies that have openings might contact an intern they like, and make offers for jobs.

"The company you intern for may want to keep in touch, in case they have any opportunities," says career advice website All About Careers. Alternatively, company clients who develop a working relationship with an intern just might contact the intern for possible job openings.

Internships should be included in the resume, and ideally be complemented by recommendation letters from the company where one worked in as intern. Age should not hinder one from desiring to be an intern, says Moran. Adults who desire a career change can become an intern, too. All that it needs is a desire to learn new skills needed for a career.

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