Internships And Work Experience
You’ve just finished university and you need a job, but you are in direct competition with thousands of other students in the exact same position. You’re now asking, “how can I stand out from my peers”, and you’re wondering what will make you more employable than the countless others asking themselves the same thing. Don’t panic because we’ve written this short guide to answer that question for you, and we’ll show you how internships and work experience can make all the difference to your employability by giving a boost to your CV.
What is an internship?
The word internship is simply a fancy way of saying “work experience”. It’s a type of on-the-job training similar to the traditionally skills-based vocational apprenticeship. Though, in contrast, internships tend to be more academically oriented, with roles to suit university students and graduates.
Think of internships as a good way to get your foot on the career ladder: they will enable you to get hands-on experience in highly popular and competitive fields, such as business, medicine and advertising. Therefore, it’s crucial you look for an internship in the sector you wish to enter.
What does an intern do?
Usually, interns will provide some assistance with low-level tasks such as answering the phones and making notes, data entry and organising paperwork. This doesn’t sound fun at first, but as your time progresses you will be trained to help with other tasks too. Throughout the internship, you will increase your practical skills, improve your knowledge of the field and gain insight into the way the organisation works.
How long does an internship last?
It depends from company to company, but it could last any time from one month to one year.
Are internships paid or unpaid?
You will find both paid and unpaid internships in many sectors; it can often depend on the level of competition in the industry concerned and the workload the intern is expected to take on.
There is currently a lot of controversy surrounding the exploitation of unpaid fashion internships in the media at the moment. As a fashion student on the Interns Anonymous blog writes, often the work carried out by fashion interns is essential to the company and a fulltime employee would be paid to do the same work if the intern was not present. This has led to accusations that such roles are unfair and exploitative. The world of fashion is so competitive that it’s pretty much impossible to get a job without an internship. Because there are so many students looking for internships, fashion houses can risk not offering to pay.
It is up to you to research the paid and free internships in your field and decide whether they are worth undertaking.
Finding internships and work experience opportunities:
There are government websites dedicated to helping students find internships and work experience opportunities, plus your university should be able to recommend local businesses relevant to your sector too.
Keep your eyes peeled at Grads.co.uk for the latest internships; popular brands include Santander, J.P. Morgan, L’Oreal and Barclays! Sign up for the newsletter today so you don’t miss out on these fantastic opportunities.