In between the late nights and long lectures, you’re going to have to think about what to do with your life when you finish college. It’s easy to party now and think later, but when you eventually graduate, you will be competing for the best jobs in your field.
The trouble with this is that even the entry-level jobs require some sort of experience nowadays – employers want to see dedication to the cause, which means becoming a part of your chosen industry before you even finish your course. That’s just the way the world has gone.
Fortunately, most organisations run internship schemes, whereby they gain an extra worker for a while and in return you gain the necessary experience to secure yourself a job when you enter the big wide world. Essentially it’s all about giving yourself the best possible chance at getting to where you want to be. After all, that’s what college is supposed to help you do.
You’re probably thinking, “But how do I do that when I have to study, work, and socialise?” Well, we’ve decided to make it easy for you, and have outlined a few ways to secure the perfect internship.
Tailor Your CV
When you’re in college, your CV will probably be filled with part-time work and any other experiences that you’ve built up over time – you just need an internship or two and your profile will be stronger than ever.
The best way to secure your perfect internship is to use your past experience to explain why you are the best person for the job. Don’t just send out the same CV and covering letter to different organisations, because they will spot this a mile off and mark you down for failing to include a personal touch.
Instead, think about what they are asking from an intern, and highlight your current skills that prove why you should be hired over anyone else.
This doesn’t mean that you should lie through your teeth just to secure the role (if you do this, you might come unstuck when they do eventually hire you). Instead, be open and honest about the areas that you need to work on, and say how this internship is going to change you for the better – the benefit of doing this for an internship application is that you can prove your progression when it’s time to apply for a full-time role.
Make Use of Your Resources
Internships are a mutual agreement between two parties, which means both you and the organisation will benefit from your involvement. That being said, other organisations stand to gain from your internship, and these are the ones that you can look to if you need a little help finding the right one for you.
The first organisation you should consider seeking help from is your college. They will more than likely have a dedicated employability team whose main purpose is to make sure you get a job once you’ve graduated. A large part of finding you permanent employment is making you employable in the first place, so they will usually have something in place to connect you with businesses that are offering internship opportunities.
Make use of the employability strand of your institution as much as you can they are a valuable resource and will usually give you career-enhancing advice. Take the time to sit down with them and go through your CV and internship application. They will give you honest feedback on how to give yourself the best chance at securing the right role for you.
Use the Internet
The internet is a great tool for connecting employers with interns, and there are some websites that are specifically designed for finding work for students. Don’t limit yourself to student-only sites, but they are definitely a good place to start.
Keep an eye out on the following sites for internship opportunities:
Even if you find your internship through one of these services rather than your college’s internship scheme, take your application to the employability team, because they can still help you out in completing the application in the best way possible.
Internships come in various shapes and sizes: some are long, some are short. Be flexible with your expectations, and don’t rule out shorter internships just because you’re looking for one that lasts a few months. At the end of the day, a short internship is better than none, and you can always use the experience you’ve gained to then secure a second role.
Some internships are part-time and work around your studies, whereas others are full-time set contracts. Be realistic about what you apply for, because you will never be able to participate in a six-month placement if it clashes with your college timetable.
Consider sacrificing your summer to gain some hands-on experience interning in your industry, because this shows real dedication and will give you a good idea as to whether the role is actually for you or not.
Do What’s Best for You
It’s important to think about what you want to achieve from an internship, to ensure that you’re applying for the right one for you. If you want to gain experience in a particular field, make it clear to the employer that this is where your ambitions lie.
Keep in mind that as long as you’re doing actual work for the organisation, you’re entitled to at least the national minimum wage (NMW). Knowing your worth is an important part of finding an internship, as strong-mindedness is a key quality to take with you in your future career.
Internships: A Stepping Stone from College to Work
When you’re making the transition from college to work through internships, make sure you can unwind in a comfortable setting. Take a look at our locations to see what we can do for you.