In a saturated marketplace, the reality is that it’s tough to find a graduate job. One way to stand out from the crowded job market is to develop relevant experience. With this you are able to tangibly demonstrate to a potential employer that you can add value to their business. For many, an internship is the path to this experience.
What kind of internship?
The first thing to think about is choosing the sector you want to intern in. You need to consider your interests, what you enjoy, what you are already good at and the skills you have learnt from your degree. Write yourself a shortlist and look for similar roles that match these points – an internship is a brilliant way to try a career, so make sure you make the most out of it and enjoy it.
Searching for internship vacancies
Once you have an idea what you want to do, it’s time to look for internship vacancies. Firstly, search for internship adverts. Try job sites like Reed.co.uk and think about reading trade press; a publication like Marketing Weekly will most likely contain advertisements for marketing internship vacancies for example. You should also check out recruitment agencies. A recruitment agency can hold the key to many new opportunities that can’t be accessed elsewhere, so by working with an agency you could find a variety of internships in London and across the UK.
Obviously when applying for roles that are widely advertised you will face a healthy level of competition. So you may want to consider trying speculative applications. Lever your contacts, ask around and approach companies directly. Find out if they have any upcoming vacancies and make sure you are imaginative; companies will receive lots of email enquiries so be sure to capture the reader’s attention! We live in the digital age, so don’t overlook social media and the opportunities it might lead you to. Start networking online, register with LinkedIn and approach HR Managers – you might be saving them time and money by contacting the right person at the right time and nail your perfect internship!
During your internship
So now you’ve secured an internship, it’s time to think about what you should be doing during the internship. Before you begin, prepare. Learn all about the company, your future mentor, what you should wear on your first day and how to get there. Doing all you can to eliminate first day nerves will really help on the day! When you start, make sure you ingratiate yourself with your mentor and colleagues. Be social, go for lunch with a variety of colleagues and if you’re invited, go for a drink after work. Internships are as much about making friends and contacts across the business as they are learning new skills and earning yourself a job.
We recommend that you consider keeping an internship diary during your internship. Keep track of the people you meet, things you achieve and new skills you learn that you can add to your CV if you aren’t offered a full-time job at the end of your internship. It’s also important to notify your mentor of any problems you have; don’t be tempted to pretend you know what someone is talking about when you have no idea, and if you are unhappy you must tell someone. If you don’t feel you can speak to your mentor, tell someone else in the workplace. Remember that your host company wants you to succeed as much as you do in your internship; your colleagues are on your side!
After your internship
Now that your internship is over, the steps you take next are key. It’s crucial that you set up a final meeting with your mentor prior to the end of your internship to talk through your time with the company and receive feedback your mentor has for you. If you aren’t offered a full-time job as a result of your internship or you feel that the role isn’t quite right for you, ask for a detailed reference and ask whether any of your new contacts know of any potential opportunities elsewhere. Stay in touch with your colleagues, since even if there is no opportunity for you now, there may well be in the future.
This article was provided by Inspiring Interns. Inspiring specialises in finding graduates internships in London and throughout the UK. Of the graduates they find internships for, 66% earn themselves a permanent job with their host company.