Are internships the graduate’s secret weapon?
Did you know employers point to internship experience as the most important factor they consider in hiring new graduates for full time positions?*
If you’re preparing for a future career and looking to offer something extra to a prospective employer – why not consider an internship? Offering hands-on experience and valuable exposure to the work place, an internship can help give you the competitive edge as employers increasingly look for experience as well as academic achievement.
And, with research showing that 85% of companies use internships and similar education programs to recruit their full time workers – they have an increasing importance in gaining a good job, as well as offering plenty of other real benefits for progressing into your chosen career.
Here’s just a few of the upsides of completing an internship
Experience: Studying is one thing; applying that knowledge to the ‘real world’ is another situation entirely. Regardless of how much you think you have learnt about your chosen career from your studies, you will learn so much more from an internship.
Contacts: Working with professionals, you will have the opportunity to tap into a network that can offer advice and information about new job opportunities in your chosen field, not to mention the great references they can bring to the table.
Develop new skills: Adding some practical job skills to your academic expertise makes you a much better candidate for any job. An internship will allow you to gain experience first-hand which will make you a more rounded and attractive candidate for any employer.
Sector awareness: Your internship will give you the chance to question and work with people in your chosen field. You’ll be able to gain valuable insight into what the job entails and how the sector has been developing. This kind of direct and specialist knowledge will often set you apart from your competition.
Future employment: Many companies use their internship programs to boost their recruitment efforts. Alternatively, if you’re not offered a job at the end, you’ll still have your work placement to add to your CV, and that alone will make you more likely to be considered for roles.
How to get started
If you’re looking for information regarding internships, why not speak to your careers advisor at college or university? Alternatively, there are plenty of resources online offering advice and internship placements to enthusiastic students who are eager to learn. Try Graduate Talent Pool as a starting point as well as Milkround.
You could also use the keyword search component of all major online job boards, searching for ‘intern’ or ‘internship’ in order to generate leads.
Finally, the logistics of internships
Internships can be paid or unpaid but it is important to check with the company before you take the position to determine if there is a salary, a stipend or no compensation. It makes sense to have a clear idea of what’s expected from you and what you expect from the employer before you start the internship.
If you’re considering applying for an internship, then start thinking about it now. By planning early, you can use these experimental careers as a means to a bright future.