Internship Tips by Sophie Polak
So you are at uni and whether you are in your first or third year you have a pretty good idea of what you would like to be doing when you graduate. All your tutors are talking about employability skills and possibly interning/ finding work experience. This type of experience, as well as your degree, is definitely going to make you stand out that little bit more.
There has been a lot of controversy around Interning and work placements in recent years. Yes, it is true that some companies seem to hire only interns so effectively their whole business is growing on free labour. If you are worried your internship is taking you for a ride or you want to make sure future internships don’t mess you about know your rights at gov.co.uk here.
The reality is that being an intern really does give you a head start to building your career. You learn things that are specific to a working environment; this can be talking confidently on the phone, meeting new people and juggling more than one task at a time. These are skills that often come as a part of workplace life and are not something you will necessarily learn from your course.
- Stand out
Interning is a competitive business especially in the fashion, arts or media industry. Companies will receive hundreds of applications or speculative cover letters inquiring about interning, so if you don’t want to do it they are not going to be short of people who will want to do the work. Don’t ever think an intern is too good or difficult for you to apply for, being confident (not smug or boasting though) is a great skill and as long as you give employers examples of other skills you have or how you love to learn you can make yourself stand out.
- Plan ahead
Summer is a very good time to intern as you have a good few months of no uni but also any other free time you have from uni even if its 2 or 3 weeks will look good. It can be beneficial to start asking around a good few months in advance but at the same time if you are able to work at very short notice this will also put you in a great position. Even if you want to be enjoying your free time with your friends just keep reminding yourself that these few weeks of working are going to benefit your CV in the long run.
- Where to look
Whatever your educational background there will be specific websites you can look at to find internships in the field of work you want to go into. Don’t forget to look on jobs websites such as Reed, Indeed and Monster as companies often post opportunities here too. Joining some LinkedIn groups will also open your eyes to the opportunities out there. Make sure your profile is in tip top professional condition.
When you are applying for internships I cannot stress enough to DO YOUR RESEARCH. If your cover letter is bespoke to the role and company you are applying to it will show you actually care about getting the internship and have attention to detail which is something many employers look out for. Why not attach a few pieces of work to your application or begin a blog or online portfolio that you can send out too.
- Know your interning rights.
- Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date and professional.
- Spend time on your cover letter, making it personal to the company and role.
- Stand out, do that little bit extra by attaching examples of your work.
- If money is tight why not suggest interning part time to work around your current job.
- Many internships will offer to pay expenses, check if there is a limit of where they cover, for example only London zones 1-6.