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For any job seeking graduate or student, internships should be a top priority. *In a recent survey, employers were asked ‘What do you think gets graduates the most ahead in the jobs market?’ Results showed that employers look for an internship or work experience over a 2:1 from a top university.
What is an internship?
An internship is a period of work experience that allows graduates and students to gain insight into the working world in a specific industry of their choice. It can last anything from 2 weeks up to 1 year and usually occurs in academic breaks or after University. It is designed for young job hopefuls to work temporarily in an industry that interests them, providing them with a taster of how the industry functions and the general work ethic in that working environment.
– more – Summer Interns
Why is it worthwhile?
Any form of work experience is beneficial for students, but it is nowadays deemed as an essential in order get ahead in the job market and stand out from fellow competitors. Team work, organisation, communication and time management are all skills that are tested in the work environment, and an internship will most certainly help develop this skillset. As well as being a great confidence builder and learning curve, it looks great on a CV. The more work experience on a CV, the more chance you have in impressing a recruiter or potential future employer.
How to get the most out of it:
Internships are crucial and can be very influential to your future career, so it is essential to make the most out of it. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:
Start as soon as possible:
- University students tend to delay internship and work experience opportunities until their last year of University. When this time occurs, they then think it is too late as the job search starts. This means they will end up having nothing to put on their CV. Do not have this attitude!! Start getting work experience as soon as possible. By the time you reach the end of University, you will want to have as much experience on your CV to increase chances of getting a graduate job. The graduate job market is exceptionally competitive so avoid this panic and start interning early.
Don’t be scared to ask questions:
- Remember, you are there for experience; they don’t expect you to know everything so never feel too awkward to ask questions or share any concerns you may have. Don’t feel like you are being an annoyance. By being inquisitive, it will show you are interested and keen to learn.
- Working in an office environment within an industry of interest to you is a great opportunity to get to know your co-workers. It is essential to utilise your contacts and expand your network as you never know what opportunity could arise.
– more – Networking Resources
Perform to the best of your ability:
- Take initiative; perform tasks efficiently with a positive attitude. Even if you get given boring and mind numbing tasks (the classic menial tasks of spread sheets and filing), keep optimistic as having a negative approach will look bad.
- There will also be times when you won’t have any tasks to do. Instead of sitting around twiddling your thumbs, checking your Facebook or going for long toilet breaks, send round a group email to people in the office asking if they need any assistance. Keep professional and friendly. It will make a good impression.
Get exposure/take advantage:
- Try and get work in different departments within the office. This will make a good impression on your behalf as will show you are keen to work and learn. Additionally, it will give you an understanding of how the several departments within a company operate in running a business. Take advantage of valuable opportunities like this.
- Especially if it is your first time at a work placement, it is so understandable to be nervous. Work experience can be a scary prospect but don’t let the nerves get to you. Companies that have work experience/internship programmes more than likely deal with students a lot so they know how to deal with new interns and will be more than willing to be of assistance. However, don’t feel disheartened if you feel like you’re being ignored. People at your work experience understand you are there for a taster of the work life, but they have jobs to do and are not there to be at your beck and call. Feel comfortable in asking for assistance but be aware of the boundary between asking and pestering!
* Survey: What do you think gets graduates the most ahead in the jobs market? An internship or work experience (40%)
BIO: This article was written by Yasmin Codron, an Online Researcher for Graduate Recruitment Bureau (GRB). Browse their Graduate Jobs
GRB specialise in placing graduates into graduate jobs, student jobs, internships, placements, gap years and courses. Additionally, a huge amount of free services and information including graduate/student advice, social networking interaction and industry videos are offered too.
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Good luck in your search.