Internship vs Mentorship

Positioning yourself to achieve your desired career outcome can be stressful. There may be several unknowns to consider and many critical choices to be made. As you journey through life you will realize you cannot do everything alone. Fortunately, there are two types of support that bolster your career. Internships and mentorships are invaluable channels that help you learn new job skills, strategize your career path and set yourself up for future success. Either option can be pursued at the start of you career, easing the burden of obstacles to come. Keep reading for an in-depth look at how internships and mentorships differ, then learn which opportunity is a better fit for you.


When transitioning from the grueling life of a up-all-night, energy-drink-chugging college student, there can be challenges you will face before landing the job of your dreams. Your lack of work history and industry relationships work against you as you dive into the competitive nature of hiring. To combat these factors and help direct your career path easier, businesses offer internships;  short-term opportunities intended to provide field specific experience to students and graduates.

Internships range from part-time to full-time, must be applied for, and can be paid or unpaid. Even if your internship is unpaid, your time investment will result in a solid foundation that you can later build upon to get the lucrative career you’ve always wanted. You will also gain the exposure you need, a foot-in-the-door, and an amazing networking opportunity. Interns grow their understanding of behind-the-scenes operations, and most importantly, build new relationships. Remember, it’s often about who you know rather than what you know. Your time interning should have significant focus on making connections and building relationships, as these references will steady your future career. 


Everyone needs supportive advice to survive the ups and downs of life. Support systems inspire the necessary hope and motivation that you may not be able to muster it up yourself. The same type of support is needed throughout your career. Mentorships are business relationships where an expert coaches and guides a newcomer to the field who wants to eventually have the same level of career success. The one-on-one time spent together is conducive for someone looking to absorb as much information as possible from a willing mentor. Mentorships are unpaid, informal agreements that and usually start once you have secured a job in your chosen career field.   

How to Know Which is Right for You

To know which you should pursue, you should fully evaluate your circumstances. Your current career status is a major determining factor. Internships are most beneficial to young individuals who need exposure to intensive job experience in order to apply for a permanent position in the field they are wanting to be in. While there are adult internships, it is much harder to convince an employer to take on an adult intern. If you are established and in need of salaried income, it may be best to seek a reliable mentor who can provide the insights you need after you find stable employment. 

If you are closer to your college years, take the time to find an internship at a corporation that aligns with your future. Not only will you become more prepared entering the job market, you will also have the opportunity to be hired directly by the company where you interned. A seamless transition! For those of you who are more experienced but looking to change paths, rest assured you can make the move with limited risk. Finding the right mentor who can teach you what you need to know and connect you with the right people will help you move along faster than on your own.

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