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Internships: What is an Intern?

What is an internship?

Internships offer a short term ‘taster’ of a work environment and are usually targeted at young people looking to take their first step on the career ladder. They can be paid and are usually a fixed length, ranging from one month up to a year.

How do I get an internship?

Many companies advertise for interns online and there is a number of job website dedicated solely to internship opportunities. You might also find contacting companies directly can be profitable as lots of employers are consistently on the lookout for enthusiastic graduates. You should apply as if you are applying for a permanent position – tailor your CV to suit the opening and write a covering letter. Even though it’s a short-term role you’re still aiming to impress from the start and you will still actually be a working part of the company. Show them why you deserve their internship.

What are the benefits of an internship?

Internships offer a great opportunity for you as a potential employee to sample an industry you might be interested in. Even if a long-term position doesn’t materialise they will boost the strength of your CV and demonstrate your willingness to find work. Internships also give you the chance to start to connect with people in the industry and develop contacts which might produce opportunities of their own, in time.

Students in particular can benefit from internships if they use them to fill their summer holidays with relevant work experience. Not only will it improve their long term employability prospects it’s a great chance to earn some money and fund a degree.

What can they lead to?

Often internships lead to full time positions within the same company and work as an extended job interview. Interns get the opportunity to prove their worth to a prospective employer and show why they should be taken on permanently.

Even if you decide you don’t want to pursue a career in the same industry as your internship, the experience can usually be tailored to an application in something completely different, so an internship is always a positive step towards your ultimate career goal.

Will I get paid?

Intern salaries vary between companies – some just cover expenses like travel and food, while others offer a more substantial pay packet.