Internships have countless benefits so why not consider them as one of your options. They are very relevant in today’s job market and employers are very well aware that although graduates are strong on theory that is no substitute for hands-on job training. Finding employment can be a real challenge for students and graduates, especially if you have little or no experience. To get that valuable experience you need to find a job. So first and foremost an internship will give you that valuable experience that employers look for when recruiting graduates.
What is an internship?
It is usually classed as a fixed period of time which could be from 1 week to 12 months working within an organisation, paid or unpaid, depending on the Industry or Sector. They can be found in a range of professions from business studies to IT, from accountancy to engineering. They can be for university students, recent graduates or even for someone contemplating a change of career.
Employers frequently use these internship placements to assess capability and may then go on to recruit employees from their interns rather than advertising externally. Internships are beneficial to employers as well as interns as they can ‘try before they buy’. They will have trained up the intern in the ways required for that organisation saving a lot of time in the future. The employer will have been able to see the intern’s capability, work ethic and personality in person, perhaps over a period of several months, which helps them decide if the intern will fit into their organisation well. This can be more preferable to just relying on what an applicant says on their CV or on their application form.
Below are some key reasons to think about when considering an internship as the next step.
Valuable work experience.
An internship is an opportunity to gain invaluable job training that you won’t get elsewhere or in the classroom. It gives you the edge when applying for jobs as you’ll have been involved in that particular sector. Having done an internship it shows that you have been proactive regarding your career prospects and of course you can use that work experience to enhance your CV.
Development of skills.
Internships are a way of developing those skills necessary in the work place. In university or college you will have developed certain skills such as research, analysis and working to deadlines. Internships also allow you to develop other skills such as working as part of a team, problem-solving and organising time effectively.
Advantages in the job market.
Work experience is a vital part of your job application not just qualifications. In a competitive job, market work experience from an internship will set you apart from others. May employers see their interns as prospective employees and the intern may go on to work for an organisation full-time after their work experience.
Choosing the right carer path.
If you’re still undecided if it’s the right career path for you then doing an internship is a way of trying out that career. If you are doing something short term you can test out your future career.
Even if you do not go on to be employed by the company that you do an internship with, hopefully you will have impressed them enough to give you a glowing reference, a recommendation for a job and an endorsement of your skills and talents.
Contacts and networks.
As well as the benefits of work experience and developing skills, internships also allow you to build up contacts within your work sector. Even if you don’t end up working for the company who gave you the internship, one of the company’s clients that you have developed a good working relationship with, may be interested in offering you a role. You may also come across opportunities for future employment by all important networking. It is also useful to keep in touch with the internship company, update them with your contact details. It may be that an opportunity may not be available within the organisation right when you want it but 6 months down the line something may come along, so make it easy for them to contact you again. Make sure you register with LinkedIn or have a similar online profile so that networking and contacts can continue.
In the UK you should receive at least the National Minimum Wage if you are performing the role of a worker, not just shadowing someone. If you’re part of the commercial operation of a business you’re entitled to payment. There are exceptions so do make sure you are completely clear on what is required in terms of hours, duties and responsibilities as well as any salary you will receive.
So overall, an internship is a massive benefit to your future career. It’ll provide you with an insight into various roles and the industry you aim to work in, you’ll gain transferable skills and it will make you stand out as a worthy candidate to prospective employers.