You’re about to leave Uni, you’ve handed in your dissertation and last thing on your CV is work in the student bar. Unfortunately, pulling the best pint in the world is not going to land you the dream job (unless pulling pints is the dream). You need an internship and we’re going to tell you why they are important.
- Internships are important because employers are increasingly using interns as a no-strings-attached way of trailing graduates before they commit to giving you a full time paid position. Employers want to see if you are a good fit for their company, work well with the team and have the potential to progress.
- Internships are a great way of building relevant experience, knowledge and skills in your industry. You also learn lifelong abilities like time management, problem solving and a good work/life balance. Being an Intern also gives you a chance to witness office politics and ways to handle future colleagues without many consequences.
- Internships are a test-run of the work and responsibilities you will have in your role. Being an Intern can be an important factor in deciding whether a job is for you and whether you want to pursue a different role, or even a different industry. You only have to search for internship stories to find people who have interned with their dream company and decide they wanted something completely different. You don’t want to be stuck in a job you hate for two or three years before something different finally comes up.
- Building contacts is always an important part of any career, regardless of the industry. Contacts are the tools you will use throughout your working life to call upon when in need. Just be prepared to help out others along the way too. Internships are a great way of starting that list and you never know, you might need to call upon someone you interned with for a favour later on.
- Internships are important because they allow you to show potential employers you can put into practice what you have learnt. They put you a cut above the competition. Your experience will be music to employer’s ears in an interview because you are not just going on about a time you worked well in a team during university.
Internships can be an important tool in kick starting your career, so where do you find one? A great place to start is the Graduate Talent Pool. It is a government-funded organisation specifically designed to help graduates find internships and entry-level jobs in their industry. Other sites like Intern Wise, Student Jobs and Prospects offer similar services to search and apply for paid and unpaid internships near you in your industry. There are also agencies that specialise in finding you an internship, and of course, there is the good old Google search!
Internships are important because they allow you to gain skills, experience and contacts in your industry. You also have a chance to test run a job before you commit to it. Just bear in mind some companies have been known to just use interns as a free work force. Before you start, know what you are expected to do and what skills you will learn. Always ask if there is a possibility of a job at the end of the internship and if not, ask for help in finding work. After all, internships are there to pick up important skills and experience that will be utilised in a paid job.
Nathalie Lot | 05 July 2013 | Strike Jobs Journalist