Internship & Volunteer

Is this internship likely to help me get more or better opportunities in the future?

Whitney leaning against a railing on a downtown street
Photograph by Tim Mossholder

The world of internships can be a confusing one for students. So many opportunities, so little time!

How do you know which internships are worth your time?

Which ones will help you get more or better opportunities in the future? What should you look for when searching for an internship opportunity that is right for you? I'm here to answer these questions and give some helpful tips.

Internships can be a great way to explore the field and get hands on experience in what you might want to do for a career

Internships are fantastic opportunities for students to explore the field they are most interested in. During an internship, you not only have the opportunity to experience what it is like to work for a company or organization, but you can also find out more about your potential future career.

Many internships are so much more than just making copies and running coffee-you might be doing anything from PR, to marketing, to event planning.

For example, if you're interested in being a youth pastor someday, internships where you get hands on experience working with other pastors will give you the best chance of realizing that this is what you really want for your career, which leads to our second point:

Internships are great because they provide access to skills

Internships give you access to skills that may not be available to you in your classroom. These skills, which include how to communicate with a diverse group of people and how to think on your feet can help you in whatever field you end up going into. You'll get a chance to sharpen your skills and brush up on some old ones.

If you are interested in marketing, an internship gives you the opportunity to practice public relations and hone those strong writing skills. For example, if you're planning on being a writer one day, interning where you get experience writing social media & blog posts or church newsletters will give you access to skills that you might not be able to get in your undergraduate program.

Likewise, if you're interested in becoming a worship leader, interning where you get hands on experience with playing music and working with teams will give you the opportunity to practice those skills and gain real world experience that will make you a better candidate for a job in your field

Don't just take any internship offered

Don't just take any internship offered - make sure it's something that aligns with your goals and that it'll lead to more jobs in the future if possible. You might be tempted by an internship that you think will be a cool experience, but if it's something that won't help you improve your skills or make connections then it might not be worth it.

Remember why internships are helpful and beneficial in the first place-you get to explore a field and gain real world experience! Make sure whatever internship opportunity you take is one where there will be opportunities to put your newly acquired skills and knowledge to use.

There are some internships that will help you get more or better opportunities in the future, whether they're about gaining a sense of direction for your career path or giving you experience with new ideas and skill sets.

It is important to keep in mind that just because an internship might not give you as many opportunities as another one, it doesn't mean it's worthless-internships are meant to give you a chance to explore and see what you like or don't like. In the same way that taking an internship won't ensure that you get into grad school or land your dream job, quitting an internship can't keep you from being successful.

Be proactive

It's one thing for the right internship to land in your lap, but most often it will take some work on your part to find an opportunity that aligns with what you are looking for. Not only should you be talking with your parents and church leaders about internship opportunities, but you should also consider branching out to other churches that are not even your home church. Why? Because the more internships you apply for, the better your chances are of finding the one that's right for you and your future goals. So don't box yourself in to one church.

Boost your resume

Internships have a reputation for being a great way to explore different career fields. Whether you're going into worship, pastoring or administration, a church-internship can provide you with that extra boost when it comes time for job searching. Not everyone will be looking at your resume and thinking "oh she had an internship at such-and-such church", but they might think "she worked as a worship leader intern for a year, that's something I might be looking for".

These internships can lead to resumes being viewed more favorably because having an internship shows that you have a good work ethic and are able to take initiative. They might not be a guarantee to success and happiness, but it is a pretty good way to explore your options and get some hands on experience with different opportunities in ministry.