As the months draw closer to our summer holidays, I am filled with feelings of excitement due to the prospect of the university break. Yet panic and concern take control as I, like many students, do not have a summer plan. An internship is a perfect way to learn valuable skills which you can apply to your future after university; however, it is becoming an increasingly popular and competitive route. This guide aims to offer some positive advice to internship hunting to make the ordeal more manageable and successful.
1) Apply, apply, apply! Although this seems obvious, you have to be in it to win it. It can be so tedious and tiresome to consistently trawl the internet and write cover letter after cover letter, but not only is it good practise for your writing skills, it means you are aware of a range of jobs that you may not have known existed. Have a quick look over websites like internwise.co.uk, ratemyplacement.co.uk, indeed.co.uk, and prospects.ac.uk, as new jobs are constantly appearing every day. Keep your options open and be persistent: you may be surprised what appeals to you.
2) Show your knowledge. It is essential when applying for internships that you demonstrate why you want to work for that specific company, and why you are perfect for them. Do some background research about the company and try to incorporate their company values into your own skillset.
3) Refine your CV. Ensure your CV is concise and only has relevant information that proves you are the best candidate for the job. There is little point mentioning your job at the chippy when you were 15. Keep it clear and sell yourself!
4) Use your contacts. Today, it seems apparent that many people gain internships due to their connections. You may think you do not have any contacts within the industry you want to pursue, but however ambiguous the connection, people are often very willing to help others succeed and help get their foot in the door. A friend once told me “my contacts are your contacts”, so don’t be afraid to ask around.
5) Prepare to go unpaid. I reluctantly write this tip as it is unfortunate that unpaid internships are still present today. If it is financially feasible, an unpaid internship demonstrates that you are hard-working and willing to put in the graft to benefit you in the long term. Perhaps if a full 3-month internship is not accessible, a few weeks or a month work experience will be highly valuable on your CV. Many internships offer to cover travel expenses, or there is the option to go part-time. A part-time internship provides the opportunity to have a part-time job on the side to help earn some extra cash.
Am starting to feel that finding an internship is a lot like dating: the internship you want isn’t the one that’s really into you but it’s always the ones that you’re not interested in that badly want you.
— Khaleesi ✨ (@badbitchsinchu) March 25, 2018
6) Know your worth. Following the previous tip, although it is important to be flexible and open, it is also important to know your worth. Don’t settle for an internship just because you have nothing else. Don’t put yourself in a financial situation that you cannot handle as this could result in feelings of resentment towards the job. Ensure that you are happy and excited with the internship proposed so that you have the best attitude to perform with.
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