Internships are opportunities offered to current students or graduates to perform a short-term period of work, which may lead to a permanent position depending on your performance in the role. Most internships can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a full year.


Internships are opportunities offered to current students or graduates to perform a short-term period of work, which may lead to a permanent position depending on your performance in the role. Most internships can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a full year, and for a lengthier contract you might even receive a wage. Though some internships are unpaid, in a majority of placements you can normally expect to be paid at least your expenses, such as lunches and travel costs.

Internships offer you valuable work experience in the industry related to your degree (or another if you choose not to pursue this after university) and may enable you to build a network of contacts that could be useful in your future career. Internships are an excellent way to gain experience to help you get an insight into the sort of career you may want.

Graduates who have relevant work experience from internships are highly valued by employers as they can ensure that you already have the crucial qualities that make you the perfect fit for their company. Even if an internship is only brief, it will equip you with the desired transferable skills that look great on a CV.

Employers often use internships as an effective way to advertise their graduate roles (whether these are jobs or schemes), as it is likely that graduates will return to the company which hired them as interns. An internship is also a great chance to test out different tasks and opportunities, to give you a better idea of the kind of role you may want to do.

To help you navigate this stage of your career journey, we have collected some useful questions and answers to help you find the best internship for you.

Will my internship be paid?

In recent years, there has been controversy about whether internships should be paid. Paid internships are highly competitive, even though many pay the minimum wage. When considering an internship, it is important to weigh up the benefits of an unpaid internship against the potential financial drawbacks. However, many employers now recognise the importance of providing funding to their internal workers, not wanting the best recruits to be held back by financial means. That means that though some internship opportunities are not fully financially compensated, many organisations may be willing to pay for your expenses, such as lunch and travel costs.

Will I get a job after an internship?

A Graduate Management Admission Council study found that many Fortune Global 100 Companies recognise the appeal of internships. According to the study, employers are likely to seek ex-interns for full time employment after an internship as they already have the necessary skills for their position. Hiring previous interns can help reduce recruitment and training costs, thus giving employers an incentive to hire well-performing interns later on down the line. It is important to consider this when looking at potential internship employers as this may be highly advantageous to you in your future job searching.

How do I make the most of my internship?

You may be given some easier jobs at first, such as basic admin or tea-making (actually a highly important task) but showing enthusiasm and a dedication to the small things may see your responsibilities expand. Nonetheless, an internship gives you a chance to talk to your
colleagues about the job they do, which can give you some insight into what sort of role you too might have in the future. Additionally, try and discuss what you hope to gain from the internship with your employer, they’ll then give you some tasks more suited to your desired career.

How does an internship differ to a graduate job or scheme?

An internship is different to a graduate job. Internship can be targeted at both undergraduate students (normally those in their penultimate year) and graduates, whereas a graduate job is purely targeted at those who have already left uni. In addition, though an internship may be unpaid, someone undertaking a graduate job or scheme is always paid a salary. The work experienced gained in an internship may be necessary in gaining a graduate role - so if you’re want to secure a more permanent graduate job in the future, it may be useful to consider an internship first. For more information about graduate roles, click here.

Why should I do an internship?

One of the main benefits of an internship is the experience you gain while potentially earning some money. Whether this is genuine commercial experience, soft skills or industry specific, they will make your CV more attractive to future employers who value these attributes in potential employees. In addition, internships are great at improving your prospects at working for the company you have your experience in, and so benefit you immensely in getting your foot in the door of a business.

What is the application process like?

You should approach the application process to an internship in the same way as applying for a job. This means you should ensure your CV is up to scratch and your interview skills are flawless in demonstrating your competence as a potential employee. Starting out on a good foot will let employers know you take their business seriously and so may make them more likely to offer you future employment after your internship is over.

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