Want to gain experience in a new field? There’s an internship for that…
Whether it’s to get your foot in the door in your preferred industry, or for your own personal growth, internships are a great starting point for those with little or no experience in the field of work they’d like to enter.
But where do you start, and what can you expect?
Here are a few things we think you should know if you’re considering an internship:
What is an internship?
An internship is a direct way of providing practical experience to beginners in an occupation or profession, and can essentially be described as on-the-job training.
There are many different types of internships, but they all allow at least a short amount of time working at a company, where you can learn the ropes and see how things work from a first-hand perspective.
Why should I do one?
Doing an internship is an excellent way to gain experience for entry-level candidates.
It allows you to enter an industry you’re looking to progress in, and from this, future employers will be able to see your eagerness to learn and passion for the field. Consequently, the skills you gain will give you a head-start in your career, and help you to do a good job in future positions.
An internship not only enhances your experience and makes you more attractive to prospective employers, but it also helps you decide on what job is most suited to you.
How can I find one?
In many ways, finding an internship is just like finding a job. Although it can be difficult to get a placement as an intern, this is greatly dependent on the field of work you’re trying to enter, and how fierce the competition is.
Internships are often entry-level positions, but recruiters will also take into account your education, and any other work experience you might have done. Make sure you do your best to stand out, and put just as much effort into your application as you would with any other job.
In most cases, you’ll be expected to fill out an application, and attend an interview or an assessment day/evening – so be prepared for this too.
You can start your search by looking directly on the recruiter’s website, and we happen to know a useful site that could help…
Will I get paid?
The general consensus with internships is that you should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage in the UK, if you are performing the role of a worker.
Some internships are based around a ‘shadowing’ technique, where the intern is there to oversee other members of staff and learn from them. Others are termed as ‘work placements’ and are used in conjunction with a higher education course, which will contribute to your overall grade.
In these circumstances, it’s unlikely that the internship will be paid.
If the role adds something to the running of the business, you are likely to be paid, but if the duties involved would benefit the intern rather than the company, it may be unpaid.
How long will it last?
The length of the internship is dependent on the sector and type.
Summer internships, for example could last from a few weeks to a few months, whereas others that are not necessarily intended for people with other working commitments could last up to a year.
In many cases, internships can also result in a full-time job if the opportunity is available and you really impress the employer with your work.
Where can I work?
Although there’s a common preconception of internships only being available in certain fields and possibly in an office based environment, they do actually exist in all fields and accommodate to all skill sets.
When can I start?
Internships are available all year round, but may be more common in summer time to accommodate for students who want to gain practical experience in their time off.
If you’re interested in gaining some useful, hands on experience, then start applying today.
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