Graduate Blog

Are internships all they’re cracked up to be?

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It is a classic scenario for any recent graduate in trying to find a job: being educated to degree level but not having the work experience to match it. It’s a case of the chicken and egg; it’s difficult to know which comes first when a job gives you the experience but you can’t get a job when you don’t have the experience. Securing an internship can be an answer to this, but they are often difficult to find and offer little in the way of pay. So are internships all they’re cracked up to be and should you bother with one? If you’re a undergraduate or recent graduate here are the reasons why they are and why you should.

It shows your committed

Taking on an internship, especially if the pay is either low or non-existent, shows that you are committed, both to your own career development and the business of the company. You may have to put in long hours, and the reward might not be immediately obvious, but in the long-run it will almost inevitably pay off.

Learn the insides of the business

An internship is a brilliant opportunity to learn the nuances and subtleties of a particular industry. Interested in a career in a fashion? Interning in the fashion world by no means guarantees a job at the end of it but the things you learn about it will help you no end in achieving your career dream. This is applicable to jobs across the board: doing an internship helps you learn the insides of the business.

“You have a 7 in 10 chance of being hired by the company you interned with”

Stuart Lander, chief marketing office at Internships.com

Become part of the team

Not only does an internship give you the chance to learn the intricacies of the business it also lets you get to know the team with which you hope to become a full-time, employed member of. Now is the time to ask questions, and to reach out and connect with your colleagues. Some of them may have even been interns at the company before starting full-time, don’t be afraid of asking them how they managed it. Interning can also help you figure out whether you feel right being part of the team, if it works then great, if not then don’t be put off, maybe that type of working environment just isn’t right for you.

Stand out

Like I say, even if the internship doesn’t work out and it turns out that there isn’t a job and paid employment at the end of it don’t be put off. Maybe the company didn’t have the right position for you or simply couldn’t afford to take you on. Either way, the internship will go a long way to making you stand out from the crowd. Make sure you put it on your CV and describe the positives you gained from the experience. Similarly, make a splash about it in any job interviews: your future employers will be eager to here how you’ve contributed to another business before.

Helps you figure out what you want

As I’ve touched on, an internship is an ideal chance to help you figure out what you really want. If you’re unsure that your heart is absolutely set on being a journalist, then try and secure an internship in that field. You’ll either love it or hate it and that could well give you the push to go on and pursue that career path with renewed vigour or make you realise that your real interests lie in something different altogether.

Lets you get connected

At least 60% of jobs are found by networking according to recent estimates so keep this in mind when taking on an internship. They are the perfect chance to talk and connect with the people who may provide you with opportunities in the future. Seize every invite you’re given and you’ll not only grow your own network of connections you’ll create a wider chance for yourself to be an invaluable member of the team.

Chance to impress

In the grand scheme of things doing an internship with a company is usually for a relatively short time scale, something around the 3 month mark. So even if it isn’t paid and you have to do a minimum wage job in the evening to survive then so be it; put a short burst of energy into impressing those who could well be your future employers and you’ll reap the rewards later.

”66% of employers believe interview performance and relevant work experience are the most important factors in their hiring decisions”

And finally…

If you can stick your neck on the line for a few months in an internship, even if it is unpaid, you’ll come out at the end of the period shining, with experience, connections, and with any luck, a job in the bag!

Convinced that an internship is the right way to go? Check out the next step: How to get that experience.

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StudentVine is an invaluable source of student and graduate advice. Powered by GradQuiz, we aim to help prepare prospective, current and past students for every facet of university and graduate life. Originally designed as a sister site for GradQuiz in 2013, and partnered with The Independent, StudentVine strives to tackle the key issues facing students and graduates in their push to develop their lives and careers.

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