By Anna Colebourne, Placements Advisor
It can be very confusing when trying to choose a graduate career path that is right for you, so carrying out internships can be a good place to start.
How do internships work?
They often last between 6 – 12 weeks and can take place in the holidays, usually the summer break. In fact, the summer holidays of your penultimate year can be a very important time for landing a graduate job.
- They usually provide direct experience working in a particular role.
- You will get an overview of the organisation.
- Get a chance to network with senior level management.
- Provide you with exposure to the different roles within the organisation.
- As well as receive some form of feedback on your performance and a reference.
Differences between large and small employers
Large employers tend to offer formal schemes with set deadlines. Smaller companies may offer internships but on a less formal basis and be more flexible on deadlines. Ensure you allow yourself time to research companies you are interested in, check their recruitment process and get your applications checked by your Careers Advisor in time to meet deadlines.
Why are internships so valuable?
- According to the High Fliers Graduate Market Report 2013, three-quarters of Banking and Law vacancies were filled by graduates who had already completed work experience with the employer in 2012. Acquiring relevant work experience is essential!
- Internships can help you decide what career is right for you. If you are considering different options, try out short internships to give you an insight into the different roles.
- What skills are you lacking? Apply to internships that can help you expand on your skill set, so you are better matched to future jobs.
- Often employers make job offers to penultimate year interns who have performed well, allowing them to concentrate on their studies in their final year, which is an added bonus!
Getting that graduate job
Internships can be very competitive, so don’t get disheartened! Work experience can also include:
- Work shadowing
- Part-time jobs
- (1 year) Sandwich placements that may be offered as part of your degree.
You may have to commit to working for an organisation for a set number of years and be required to work for long hours, so take time to discover which career path suits you best.
Check out our Vacancies Board for all these types of opportunities – this is updated daily!