There is no better way to spend your summer as a student than being stuck in an office while all your friends are out travelling and enjoying the summer (outside of the rainy UK, that is).
Well… not really, what I just described does not sound very appealing to many students, despite all of that I think doing an internship is the single best thing I did throughout my university experience. Many internships take place in the summer months, and I get it…working during the summer may not be ideal, but I find that the pro’s of being an intern far outweigh its con’s.
In this article I will summarise my opinion on internships, giving some tips on how to land your dream internship and how to get the most out of it.
Why internships in the first place?
Enhance your CV
At the end of your course you will be left with the same piece of paper as hundreds of other students in your cohort. Sure, if you have performed better than average you may end up with a 1st class qualification, but there will still be many other students with similar results. Internships are a way to STAND OUT when you are finally looking for that Graduate Job and trying to enter the big bad world of working adults. From an employer’s perspective, looking at your CV and seeing that you have already had work experience in a related field will put you one step ahead of all other candidates with same qualifications but no experience.
What I value the most about internships is that they give you hands-on experience that you would normally struggle to get through academic life alone. Universities are great at providing you with theoretical knowledge and notions but they still lack touch with the industry (although great strides have been made). An internship is effectively a way for students to get to know a certain sector, company or role and decide if it is for you. It is certainly better than landing that coveted graduate job only before realising that you actually hate it.
How do you get an Internship?
Well it is everything but easy. Internships can be extremely competitive and sought after. Different companies have different selection processes but it often goes along the lines of an initial online screening of your profile and CV, followed by an interview (online or face-to-face), if this is successful you may be invited to a final round of interviews/assessment centre. Sure the process may vary but this is what I have come across when I was applying for internship during my studies. Some good resources to browse if you are looking to find internships are Prospects , Indeed and Glassdoor
For the first few stages of the application process my tip is to personalise and tailor your application to the company that you are applying to. Too many students make the mistake of copying and pasting the exact same CV and Cover Letter for EVERY. SINGLE. JOB. This is very easy to notice for recruiters who will be very quick to put your CV in the “NO” pile. Another important thing to keep in mind is to practice the “usual” questions. You are almost certain of a few key interview questions that are very likely to come up: why did you apply to “X” company? Why did you apply for “Y” role? Tell me a bit about yourself? These questions are often asked from interviewers and they expect the candidate to confidently answer them, so make sure you come prepared!
I secured my internship? Now what?
Congratulations! You got an internship. Now make sure you do some more research about the company you will be joining and your job description as an intern. If you need to brush up on some specific topics or things you learnt at University make sure to do so; you want to be your best self for your internship.
As an intern you will have access to experienced people within the company that will be working alongside you. My advice is: be a sponge, yup you hear me right, a sponge. You need to soak up as much information as possible, trying to learn from those around you and asking question after question after question. As an intern you are basically in an interview throughout the whole programme. You will be constantly monitored and reviewed to evaluate whether you are worthy of a full-time offer. So make sure you are prepared and you do your best.
Finally, another great part about internships is that you are not alone! If you are interning in a major company there will most likely be many other fellow interns in the exact same situation as you! It is a great way to build you network and enjoy your time with other students! So get your LinkedIn profile ready and have fun…
Enjoyed the read? Check out Sophie’s article on interviewing, you will need it if you want to get that internship!
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