The following guest post is brought to you by RBS Insurance.
Employment in young people is at an all-time high in the UK and stories of graduates being unable to find employment in a restaurant, let alone something in their degree subject, is more common than drunks in a bar.
Our economy is threatening to dip back into the realms of recession and it’s becoming ever more obvious that a degree no longer puts you at the front of the pack when applying for jobs.
Many of you will be put off by the thought of internships – initiation rights, office tea-monkey and a minimum of three months working for free. The horror stories have done their rounds, but they are to be ignored (mostly because they’re just not true). Putting yourself out there will improve your employability and make you stand out from the crowd. Here are our top reasons why an internship will boost your CV.
[Kevin] I really agree with this! I was able to launch into my professional career thanks to the experience I had built up doing internships.
Who you know matters
The age-old expression “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters,” does hold some truth when entering the big bad working world. Of course, an internship will build your confidence in the work place, hone your skills and expand your knowledge of the profession you’re trying to enter. However, whether you are trying to get your nose into the hard-nosed world of journalism or looking for insurance jobs when you graduate, an internship is the ideal platform for networking and building up industry contacts.
[Kevin] This also applies to other industries, such as software development.
A degree isn’t enough
Workplaces are rapidly demanding more specialised needs and employees with higher levels of skill, twin this with rising numbers of graduates year on year and competition for good jobs can only increase. Gaining a degree is a step in the right direction, but showing commitment and drive towards your career goal will make your name stand out in that long list of applicants. By working as an intern you enhance your real world experience and your commitment to working, even if you do dip into your travel savings.
[Kevin] I learned a lot about working in my field by doing internships, and as only the first internship was completely unpaid, I was also able to raise money for school.
A real-world social network
Forget LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, interning is the ultimate social network; the people you meet along the way may just be able to help you five years down the line, or even write a sparkling reference for your next job. The value of an internship usually lies with the people you work with – take advantage of industry social events as well as Friday night drinks with the girl at the desk next to you.
[Kevin] Agreed with this, though LinkedIn is better than the others. It all depends on the niche you are in, and the value of the online social networks lies more in keeping things professional, or remove the embarrassing stuff completely.
Remember that many companies use internship programs as a way of screening and training students for potential full-time work once you graduate. Stay in contact when your placement is over and your internship may turn into a job.
You may be working for little or even no pay during an internship, but the advantages of working in the field you want to work in over a job in the local pub will pay off in the long run. The key to justifying working for nothing for three months? You’ll get a higher paid job at the end of this whole education malarkey than you would if you had no experience.
[Kevin] Dear reader, how have internships helped you out in the past? They made a really big difference for me, especially coming out of school.