Employers won’t hire you unless you have experience… But no one will give you the experience in the first place! It’s hard to get your foot in the door in the career you really want in this dog eat dog world – so, how do you get out of this annoying cycle? Internship!
So you hear the word all the time, but what really is an internship?
There are different types of internships depending on what you are looking for. You can either do a short term, unpaid internship – specifically to enable people to gain experience in a certain field and boost their CV. This can be anything from 2 weeks to 3 months. This type of internship is often as part of a student course – but not always.
Some internships are much longer – between 6 months to a year. This is usually paid and with the aim to either keep the employee on after the internship is up, or as part of a year in industry as a part of a 4 year university course.
If you are looking for a change in your career, you could take an internship, which will allow you to be trained and learn on the job. If the employer can see some potential in you, you could be offered a full time position – happy days!
Doing an internship is a great way for you to find out which career you really want to pursue, and by the end of it your CV will be glowing.
There can be some downsides though - there are some cases of people having bad experiences. Sometimes companies hire interns with the view that they can get cheap (or free) labour – giving the interns all of the boring and unappealing tasks. You don’t want to end up gaining little or no experience so it’s important to do your research, making sure you know what the job role with entail. You can normally get a feel for this during the interview stage.
Benefits of Internships
There are many reasons people choose to do an internship, some benefits are:
- Receiving references that can help you to get a job
- Networking opportunities
- Improving knowledge and skills
- Helping to understand how the business world works
- Increasing own knowledge of an industry
- Helping to decide if the career is right for you
What qualifications or experience do you need?
If you are applying to an internship as part of your university course, there will be some requirements that you have to meet for example minimum of 60% in your course or high rates of attendance.
You may also need to have a full year of study left to take after the internship. This will depend on your course and its requirements.
Usually, it is required for all applicants to be at least 18 years old, as students should be in full education until this time. However, some students look for internship opportunities whilst studying A Levels or other courses so that they can increase their job opportunities once they have gained their qualifications.
So, what will your main responsibilities be as an Intern?
Of course your responsibilities will depend on where you are doing your internship, which industry and department. It is important to find out before you start your internship what the employer intends for you to do, so that you can get the best experience possible.
Vital Intern skills
Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? These are the skills you’ll need for the role.
The skills that you need will vary depending on the internship that you go for, but as an intern you will need to have the following attributes:
- Willingness to learn
- Listening skills
- Ability to work well as a team
- Quick learner
- Ask questions
- Communication skills
What is an Intern’s salary?
The downside to internships…
An internship is often unpaid, and interns usually work in exchange for experience and an opportunity to learn. Sometimes the company will pay for travel and lunch expenses, though. So not all bad news!
Longer internships might be paid, but it will usually be minimum wage.
How to get an Internship?
Now that you know what an internship is, how do you get one?
There are many different ways to find internships – firstly if you are at university you could use your careers service. They will be able to give you advice, tips and help with things like writing your CV, interview preparation, as well as having a database of companies who want to take on students. If completing an internship is a mandatory part of your university course, then you will receive help in finding a suitable internship.
You can also take the reins and search for opportunities online.
If you have contacts that can help you to secure an internship then that’s even better! It could be a family member that puts in a good word for you at the company they work for.
How to develop your career after your Internship?
If you are lucky, a job could become available at the end of your internship.
All you need to do is wow your employers and show your potential during your time at the company. You never know, you could be offered a full time position.
If there are no opportunities for you at the company that you did your internship at, you can apply to other roles now that you have gained some experience. Hopefully, you can get glowing references, which will work in your favour when applying for jobs. Your CV will definitely look a whole lot more appealing.
You can find some of the best Internships with brands such as BUNAC and many more.