Part-Time Job vs. Internships

Are you unsure whether you should pursue a part-time job or an internship? What are some of the differences? How should you prioritize your time at BSU?

Our expert answer is: It depends…

Getting a job or an internship during your time at BSU is a fantastic way to explore careers and earn some money. Which one should you pursue? Explore the benefits of each so you can pick what’s right for you.

The pros and cons of part-time jobs

When your primary motivation for working is to earn money, searching for a part-time job rather than an internship may help you make the most of your time. Earnings from your job can help offset college and living costs, and these experiences can help you build valuable career skills. However, we highly encourage you to be intentional when searching for a part-time position. For example, consider pursuing a bookkeeping job if you are an accounting major, working at a local bank if you are interested in finance, applying for a per diem role at a local hospital for pre-health majors, serving as a tutor if you are an education major are all valuable option for BSU students as many of these positions allow you to explore future internships or full-time positions in these organizations.

In some cases, though, a part-time job can detract from your school work. While there are jobs that give you flexibility during finals, a job in a restaurant or retail may ask you to work more hours in the evening, on weekends or during holidays, which is exactly when you need extra time for studying. It is important to keep in mind that your priority is to complete your BSU education.

The benefits of purusing internships

Getting an internship can help you apply what you learned from school in real work settings, allow you to build essential skills, and make professional contacts that will enhance your network. Many industry sectors utilize internships to recruit full-time talents. Hence, an internship may help you land your first job after BSU. Keep in mind that some of the larger organizations tend to recruit students a year ahead, so your job search timeline can range from 3 months to 12 months prior to your internship term. We encourage you to meet with one of our career advisors ASAP to plan for your internship search.

The best of both worlds: paid internships

Not all internships are unpaid; many companies offer paid internships. Some companies even offer students the opportunity to extend their time beyond their internship term and stay with the company as part-time employees. Your best strategy is to look at internship and part-time positions as you search for internship options. Keep in mind that you can always pursue micro-internships, as these experiences allow you to explore short-term experiences while getting paid.

Which choice is right for you?

Should you try to get a part-time job or a paid internship? Even if it is an unpaid internship, there is funding available at BSU that can support your internship experience. We encourage you to schedule an appointment with a career advisor on Handshake so we can learn more about your unique situation. Most importantly, ask yourself: Can you balance your academic studies and career pursuit?   

By Gerald Tang
Gerald Tang Executive Director