Most students who are fresh out of university are itching to land their first graduate job, entering the industry they trained for and starting to earn a proper salary. But hold your horses, it might be worth pausing and thinking about your options! Yes, you have all the book learning you need, but you probably have very little hands-on experience in the field. You may find it hard to get a foot in the door if employers see a lack of experience, which is why an internship could be a savvy move.
You can get a lot from an internship, and not just the possibility of being paid. An internship gains you an opening into your chosen sector, whatever subject you studied for your degree, and gives you the chance to apply everything you've learnt in a 'real world' setting.
The skills and experience you gain will be both industry specific and broader. Internships allow you to brush up on your 'soft skills', so things like communication, numeracy, teamwork or giving presentations.
An internship may also open your eyes in surprising ways. Some people discover that this isn't the career they thought they wanted after all, avoiding you finding out the hard way by taking a job and quickly changing your mind. You could discover different roles within the industry, or take a complete change of direction into another sector.
Finally, contacts. These are invaluable when you're starting out. Even if your internship doesn't lead to an offer of a full-time job, once you have a network behind you, you'll start to hear about upcoming opportunities and have referees to back you up.
Internships are a foot in the door to your industry
You can apply your book learning in a 'real world' setting
You improve your soft skills and gain experience
You may find it's not for you after all
You gain valuable contacts