What is an Internship?
An internship is a period of work experience, offered by a company, designed to give students exposure to a professional environment and the opportunity to develop new skills in a specific field of interest.
With employers increasingly looking for students with ‘on-the-job’ experience, internships are a great starting point to get your foot in the door in your preferred industry. Students can expect to learn how the business operates, find out more about the company and their culture and gain a first-hand perspective of the day-to-day responsibilities.
The structure of the internship will vary considerably depending on the firm, industry and type of internship. However, typically, interns undergo training for the specific job or industry and spend their time working on relevant projects with targets to achieve by the end of their role. All interns have a manager to report to and generally work in a team that will support them throughout the duration of their programme.
Internships can be either paid or voluntary, although most established companies in the UK offer paid internships. In many cases, employers offer interns with a full-time graduate job with the company, depending on their performance during the internship.
What will you gain as an intern?
The hands-on work experience that interns receive is extremely valuable and is something that makes them stand out to potential employers. In addition to learning the specialised skills of a particular field, interns also develop their soft skills such as communication, teamwork and time management, fully preparing themselves to enter the workforce upon graduation.
Internships offer interns the chance to not just build relevant skills and learn about the field, but to demonstrate those skills and industry acumen on the job.
As an intern, you will be surrounded by working professionals in the industry and this provides the perfect opportunity to learn from the people around you, ask questions, and create a network of contacts.
Who can apply?
Some internships are limited to penultimate year university students while others are open to students from all years. Requirements for an internship can vary from industry to industry and companies tend to list what they are specifically looking for in potential interns on their careers website.
When does it occur?
A typical internship occurs in the summer months. The length of the internship is dependent on the industry and company; however, they can range in length from a couple of weeks to several months.
Who offers Internships?
Internships are more common than spring weeks thus most companies offer them. They are accessible for a range of sectors, including consulting, investment banking, law, marketing, technology, engineering and many more.
When to apply?
Applications typically open in late August or early September and close by December although this can vary for different industries and different companies.
What is involved in the application process?
The typical stages in the application process include:
Filling an online application – this will often require a submission of your CV and sometimes a cover letter
Online tests – this can include numeracy, verbal reasoning and logic tests
Phone or video interview
OUR TOP TIPS
TO MAKE THE MOST OF AN INTERNSHIP
Make sure to show up on time to meetings and be prepared if you are presenting.
Log in your daily tasks in a journal and review the list at the end of each day to reflect on what went well, what you liked the most and what you can improve on.
Set clear personal goals that you want to achieve by the end of your internship in order to keep focused. Speak with your supervisor about your goals and expectations of the internship and also outline your responsibilities for the coming weeks to make sure you are on the same page.
Show initiative by asking for new projects or reading company literature. If any interesting challenges come up, be prepared to take them on or if you have new ideas to improve the existing processes, suggest them to your supervisor.
MAKE NEW CONNECTIONS
As you will most likely be assigned a buddy or mentor, make sure to establish a good relationship with them by meeting on a regular basis. Also, find opportunities to strike up conversations with senior colleagues within your team and outside your team to expand your network.