First Professional Step - A Job or an Internship
Updated: Jan 5
When it comes to making the correct choice right after college, most of us are confused, worried, and uncertain no matter what decision we make. We all know some who have straight up jumped to a job and some who have kick-started it with a fashion design internship. And, as it turns out, some of them succeeded and some of them didn’t, regardless of whatever choice they made. The profound truth is that many different factors are involved in everyone’s career, which is why every professional has a different probability and momentum at different points in their professional career. So, the real question is, what is the right way to navigate your career–a job or an internship? And, once you make a decision, what should your next steps be?
So, without much ado, let’s dive in?
Before we find ourselves in this dilemma of choosing a job or an internship, let’s understand the difference between these two terms, shall we? Now, most of you might have a fair share of understanding, but in any case, here’s a simple clear-cut definition of these terms. Jobs are meant to be long term, providing working professionals tons of opportunities over the years as well as some job security. Whereas, internships are typically tenured for a few months up to a year in some cases, and are mostly taken up by college students or graduates looking for experience right out of college.
To Intern or to Take a Job?
There are people who have always known what they wanted to do in their careers and then there are those who didn’t have the slightest clue. Perhaps, there are people who are torn between choosing the ideal career out of the two or more options that they have. There are so many choices and decisions to be made, right? But how do you know what’s best for you?
If you have two or more career choices to ponder upon, it’s only wise to consult with a professional and renowned career counsellor. A career counsellor will help you navigate the road ahead by closely inspecting your likes, dislikes, your forte and what the current industry has to offer. Once you narrow down to some final career choices you want to explore, it’s time for you to take the internship route. Even if you are the kind of student/graduate who is either sure or completely unsure, then internships are the way forward to identify what exactly you want.
Why is an Internship the First Step?
Well, we say that exploring and figuring out what you are good at is something you will identify through internships. They allow you to have the minimum relevant experience and industry exposure needed to make the right commitment. In some cases, students jump on the bandwagon and head right out to pursue their post-graduation without experimenting and finding out where their true interests lie. Trust us, you don’t want to pursue your Masters or MBA in a subject that you are not even sure about. You might as well take a step back, evaluate your options, intern at different start-ups and organizations for however long it takes to figure it out and then work on the next steps. Sounds like a plan? Here are some of the reasons why a fashion design internship is a great way to commence and explore your career.
Test the Waters
Internships are a great way to test the waters. It gives you a lot of perspectives, the right kind of exposure and a tangible understanding of the career you’re stepping into. The scope of work that comes in with internships gives you a fair comprehension of what your future scope of work would look like. It’s also a great way to find new mentors who will help you in different walks of your professional life. When it comes to internships, networking goes hand in hand. In fact, we would say that it is a necessity more than a choice in any career path.
Exploration If you happen to take up a fashion designing internship at a mid-sized organization or even better, a startup, you will have the benefit of wearing several hats and spearheading different roles. This will then grant you a one-of-a-kind opportunity of going through different job profiles in one internship. The only mantra that goes well with internships is “The more the merrier.”
On the other hand, if you pursue an internship at a large corporation, you will learn an inexhaustible value of discipline and how to work under well-defined SOPs. There will be days when you will feel overworked, but that’s okay. Whether it is a start-up or a corporate set-up, both come with their own set of pros and cons. The point of an internship, in any case, is getting the opportunity to explore and identify your exact niche as you do. Why a Job Isn't an Ideal First Step?
If you are somebody who has taken up a full-time job right after college, then you may not have had the chance to hit pause and evaluate your current job and progress. You just get pulled in before you realize it’s too late. But, since it’s your first job, you may or may not be making the effort to understand and analyse different dynamics, new working environments and the works. If you are not trying to do so, then a lot of things may seem unpleasant in the long run.
Some of you may simply understand that this job isn’t for you and might think of quitting. Whereas, others will take longer to decide. In both cases, it’s a huge waste of time for you and the organization that you are working for. So, you might want to skip the drama and pick meaningful, productive and noteworthy internships instead, to give yourself the head start for your career. Here are more reasons why an internship is the right first choice and why a job isn’t. Fewer Chances to Explore
The exposure you get from an internship versus an actual job is surprisingly different. Your job is very much limited to your job description and hence, limits your opportunity on various levels. Your employer expects you to stick around and work for longer. Whereas, in internships, you are not expected to work for more than a few months. You get to do different tasks from scratch, even work on SOPs in some cases. The world is your oyster when it comes to internships.
Source: Leverage Edu
Blurs Your Vision
Since your first full-time job is a paid job, you are quite hooked to the idea of consistently receiving paychecks and boosting your job security, which can mess with your ability to look beyond that. On the other hand, the fact that your internship stipend is not something that gives you job security is a good enough reason for you to focus on your goals and work hard for what you want out of your career. In other words, focus on your end goals.
Even though there are a plethora of job opportunities and tempting pay offers, it’s safe to conclude that internships are the best way forward. They help you get first-hand industry experience, exposure, different roles, lots of groundwork, and lastly and most importantly, the ability to make the right career choice. It’s like a science experiment where you gather the ingredients, write down the subject and go ahead and fearlessly experiment. If the experiment is successful, it’s a good enough experiment and proof of the fact that things are looking up for you. Whether it’s a career in fashion, finance, marketing or filmmaking, it’s important to get a real, first-hand experience before you put your foot into anything in order to lay the foundation for success.