Your university holidays have come around and all your friends are chatting about how tanned they’re going to get when they jet off to some gloriously sunny destination. Unfortunately you have an internship, so you won’t be joining your friends abroad, which sucks! However, you shouldn’t be down about having an internship, every student would dream of having one, though they might not always admit it. That’s because there are countless benefits to having an internship.
Valuable Work Experience
First and foremost, an internship will give you valuable work experience that employers look for when they’re hiring graduates. It shows proactivity and dedication to bettering your career prospects, but also will provide you with valuable on-the-job experience. So when it comes to writing a cover letter and you need to display that you have experience of dealing with clients and queries, you can use your internship as an example of when you carried this out like a boss!
With the graduate job market more crowded than Oxford Street on a Saturday, getting valuable work experience as an intern will give you the edge.
Development of Skills
Internships are also a great way to develop your work place skills. Yes, university does provide you with skills such as keeping to deadlines, research and analytical skills, but internships allow you to develop commercial awareness about the industry you want to work in. This is particularly important for industries such as law but employers will be impressed with your knowledge whatever industry you choose to work in.
On top of this, internships allow you to problem solve, organise your time effectively and show that you can work in a team that is something different to a seminar presentation.
Contacts & Job Prospects
Work experience and skill development alone will put you in good stead to snatch up a graduate job but internships also allow you to build up your contacts in the industry. The company you intern for may want to keep in touch, in case they have any opportunities. Alternatively, one of the company’s clients that you develop a working relationship with may like to interview you for a role they have available.
The easiest way to build up contacts is to get yourself a Linked In profile. If you don’t know what Linked In is, it’s basically a professional equivalent of Facebook, with less Instagram’s of food and more job opportunities. Linked In is a must for all soon-to-be graduates as it will allow you to keep in contact with people you worked for and build new relationships.
You Should Be Paid
If all these benefits still haven’t persuaded you to look for an internship rather than seeking out far-off tourist destinations, then let us whisper in your ear that interns should (legally) be paid for their work. And if pay hasn’t been mentioned, don’t worry, as you can claim your money back. You’re entitled to the National Minimum Wage during an internship but if you do an unpaid internship you can report the company to HMRC once you finish, as to not create any bad blood.
The unpaid internship debate is a tricky one, as if it’s really valuable, enjoyable work and you’re developing lots and skills and making loads of contacts, you won’t want to leave. Similarly, if there’s the prospect of a job at the end of it, you might want to stay. Short term pain, long term gain, right?
Whatever you decide to do, it’s your choice. Just be aware of your rights and clued up on unpaid internships.
Overall, internships are massively beneficial to your future career and should earn you some money whilst doing so. Your friends may be on a splendid summer holiday, but you’ll be making coin when you land a graduate job before anybody else. Then it’ll be your turn to jump on the sun lounger…