Even without the extra pressure from the pandemic, there’s no denying that today’s job market is competitive. The average ratio of job applications to getting invited to an interview is twenty-to-one, according to graduate-jobs.com. Their research also found that “graduate job seekers fail to hear anything at all in response to three out of five of their applications.”
Clearly, whether you have a degree or not, giving yourself an edge over competitors is vital when venturing into the working world, but it’s no longer a case of just getting good grades. Employers are looking for relevant experience, and doing an internship is arguably one of the most beneficial routes to future success.
Research from Highflyers.co.uk warns that “over a third of employers surveyed said it was either ‘not very likely’ or ‘not at all likely’ that a graduate who’d had no previous work experience would be successful during their selection process, irrespective of their academic achievements or the university they had attended.”
Aside from impressing employers, internships also have a multitude of other perks. You will:
- Gain first-hand knowledge of your chosen industry and get a taste of what to expect from future roles
- Learn practical skills that you wouldn’t get in a classroom and improve your confidence
- Make professional contacts that you could use later in your career
- Have the potential for a job offer after your internship finishes
Now you know just how beneficial an internship can be, here’s our tips on getting the most from your experience.
Tailoring your CV
As with all job applications, ensure your internship CV is well-presented and accurate. It doesn’t hurt to treat all elements of internships, from application to working on the job, as the ‘real-deal.’ Even if you’re not getting paid, you have been offered an excellent insight into your chosen industry and the knowledge you will acquire is priceless. Prospective employers will not appreciate a sloppy CV or cover letter, and these reflect badly on you professionally. Competition is tough, so creative flourishes can make the difference in landing your dream internship.
Treat it like an extension of the interview process
Enthusiasm is key. Your employer will recognise your motivation and commitment and it may result in rewards beyond your expectations. From looking the part to demonstrating you’re an all-rounder with professionalism, flexibility and good organisation, internships can put you in prime position for a full-time role. Similarly, do not be afraid to ask for support and feedback during your internship. Your employer will appreciate your willingness to improve and develop. Bear in mind the reasons why you chose to do this internship, and how you can get the most out of it.
Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into
Although internships can be incredibly beneficial, criticism has been raised in the past over how big business uses these positions to generate free labour. Prospective interns should be aware of the cost of their efforts when accepting unpaid positions. The government website states interns should be entitled to the national minimum wage, except when they are a student participating in work experience as part of a higher education course, or an individual volunteering. Unfortunately, businesses have struggled in recent times, and not all offer their interns the luxury of paid work.
Ultimately interns should be aware of their goals and means, and what can be reasonably expected of them when undertaking unpaid work.
Are you an employer who could offer an internship or work placement to one of our learners? Find out more here