Job vs Internship: Is There a Right Choice for University Students?

The job vs internship dilemma is an interesting one every university student faces when choosing between earning valuable experience and/or making money. While internships can be a great stepping stone for students aiming for a smoother transition into the workforce, you can also begin your career with part-time jobs alongside your degree. 

But, which one is the right choice for you?

Job vs Internship: The Key Differences

A job is a paid position that involves working for an employer regularly. On the other hand, an internship is a temporary position, typically unpaid or partially paid, designed to provide students or recent graduates with practical work experience in a specific field or industry.

The three primary differences between both are:

Learning Opportunity

While interning, you have the opportunity to gain real-world experience, diving into elements of the industry/function you’re interested in and gaining exposure to the inner workings of a business. You’ll have the chance to engage and contribute to key projects and work directly with the C-suite and higher management (70% of VI interns do).

Of course, there is ample learning with certain jobs too, but the primary focus here is on completing tasks. In today’s current market, finding an entry-level position in complex and skill-heavy industries is tough without some prior experience. 

Therefore, if your employment field is, for example, AI, software development, or cloud computing, an internship during university will help make an easier transition into the workforce. 

Read More: 5 Ways to Gain Hands-on Experience Early in Your Career

Length of Time

A job is usually a long-term commitment. Even time-limited positions, like contractual and seasonal work, require a certain time commitment. 

Internships, on the other hand, are not an indefinite commitment. They can be as short as four weeks to, at most, a year long. However, most employers view internships as one long interview and may end up offering full-time roles to the best performers. In fact, statistics show that about 1 in 4 Virtual Internships interns receive an offer from their host company upon completion.

End Goal

The end goal of securing a job or an internship depends on what you are looking for in both the short term and long term. 

While the duration of an internship may be limited, the ultimate goal is to use the experience to develop relevant skills and demonstrate your abilities, resulting in a smoother transition from a student to a working professional. An internship is not a standalone experience but a building block on the road to a successful career.

Why You Should Choose Internships?

More and more companies are looking to build their early talent pipelines by bringing on interns. As a university student or a recent graduate, choosing an internship might be the best option for you. 

Here’s why:

Test Drive a Career

Not sure if you’d like to work in an industry/company or not? Intern for a company and gain clarity on this pathway before making any commitments. 

Internships enable you to participate in a real-life professional environment. By completing your assignments, engaging with your manager, and observing the inner working of the company, you can easily decide whether to continue pursuing the same career path or not. 

Networking Opportunities

Internships allow students to learn one of the most valuable skills of all: networking

As an intern, you’ll build valuable professional relationships with colleagues and mentors in your field of interest. The connections you make here can help you enter the job market with confidence, serve as references on your resume, and open up new opportunities in the future.

Career Development

Since internships are primarily focused on skill development and learning, they can be great for your career development in the long haul. It helps you learn skills employers are looking for in today’s market, apply academic knowledge, add real-world experience to your resume/CV and job applications, and much more. 

Host companies at Virtual Internships, for example, operate on a project-based internship model with a developed placement plan for all interns, with major tasks and projects outlined prior to the start date.

Moreover, we also encourage our interns to upskill with our career development courses, where they have access to employability upskilling courses, expert webinars, and more.


You can easily fit internships along with your university education and social life without any hassle, especially in the case of remote internships.

At Virtual Internships, our programs range from 4-12 weeks (with 10 to 30-hour weekly commitments). This enables you to gain valuable work experience in an incredible host company on your schedule without jeopardizing anything else.

Real-World Experience

One or two completed internships during or after your university degree is a sure-shot way to get the recruiter’s attention. This experience shows the employers that you not only have professional work experience in a similar setting but you also share a deep passion for the industry, and have applied the knowledge and skills you gained at university to a real-world setting.

Chance to Gain Academic Credit

Remote internships give you the opportunity to gain academic credit towards your degree while you work. For example, if you complete a 20-hour-per-week internship for three months, you may be eligible to receive six credits at your university, which is equivalent to taking two classes. Completing an internship for credit can allow you to lighten your course load and potentially free up your schedule in the future.

Read More: 12 Future-Proof Skills to Learn Right Now


Why Students May Choose a Job

Students might choose a part-time job over an internship for various reasons. For some, a job can provide you with financial aid or medical benefits. Also, some jobs may be a better option for careers that offer plenty of entry-level jobs.

For example, if you want a thriving career as a software developer, then a part-time librarian job wouldn’t get you there fast. Often entry-level positions in skill-heavy industries expect you to have some form of experience, which you’re required to gain through a job or an internship.

Job vs Internship: Answering the Big Question

University is one of the most crucial stages of your career journey and steering it in the right direction is in your hands. When it comes down to answering this question, the choice is yours to make based on the goals you have.

While a part-time job might provide you with monetary benefits, an internship in your industry will help you gain practical experience, develop skills, and build a professional network in your field of interest.

If you’re considering an internship, Virtual Internships offer a flexible option that allows you to gain valuable work experience alongside your studies, with a guaranteed internship placement.

With the support of internship coaches, employability upskilling courses, and a global network of host companies, our remote university internship program provides a unique opportunity to develop your skills and make your resume shine.

So if you want to take your career to the next level, learn more about a Virtual Internship and start building your professional future today.

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