Have you ever applied for a job and been knocked back because you lack the experience? Are you hesitant to apply for jobs because they require experience that you just don’t have? Are you wondering how you can gain experience without getting a job? Have you considered interning? Applying for jobs is always a stressful experience, especially if you’re applying for your first job in a specific industry. Read ahead to discover the ins and outs of internships and how they could help you secure your dream job.
There are two types of internships: paid and unpaid. Paid internships are pretty self-explanatory: you get paid for your time. They differ from ‘jobs’ in that they are usually for a set period of time, after which, your time at the company may be reconsidered. You could then be offered employment within the company, or thanked for your time and sent on your way. Paid internships are a great way to gain experience and earn some money while you’re at it. Unpaid internships on the other hand, require you to work without being paid. Why would someone willingly work for free, you ask? The answer is simple: experience. Gaining experience is definitely one of the best things you can do to put yourself first for a job opening. Most job descriptions will state that applicants need a minimum amount of experience in that field: usually anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Internships are a great way to get this experience so that you can be prepared for the job you want.
You may be wondering how to get an internship. The process of applying is very similar to that of applying for a job. Usually, companies will look at your resume and cover letter to gain some idea of who you are and what experience you already have. They want to see that you have an interest in the field, as this demonstrates that you will have some level of dedication to the work. In terms of experience, studying a relevant course or having volunteered in the field is usually enough. Companies don’t expect you to know how to do everything when you begin an internship. That is, after all, the entire point of internships: to learn new skills! They will train you up and teach you everything you need to know. For this reason, unpaid internships are far more common than paid internships. Companies are usually a bit hesitant to spend money on someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, so training someone up for free is a mutually positive experience. The company gets the work done for them, the intern gets experience, and both parties benefit!
Finding available internships can sometimes be a bit tricky. Most companies won’t approach just people offering internships. If you’re wanting to intern somewhere, it is up to you to reach out to the company and ask for an internship. You may also be able to find some internships online, similar to job openings. There are a few websites that you can visit to find companies offering internships. A quick search will bring up multiple results. Sometimes, your education institution might have a list of companies willing to take interns from each discipline. They could even send an email out to the students that they think would be best suited to a particular available internship. For example, an internship relating to art services may be of particular interest to students in an artistic discipline. Therefore, the institution may contact those students specifically. If you have your mindset on a particular job, it’s best to start looking for internships as early as possible. The more opportunities that you are able to take on, the better your position will be when it comes to finding a job.
There is a wide variety of industries where internships are offered. Plenty of office jobs offer internships, as it is relatively easy to bring in new people and train them up while sitting next to a more experienced member of the company. For this reason, finance and accounting internships are reasonably easy to find and obtain. Learning how to use computers to an incredibly advanced level is beneficial in many industries, including finance, marketing and advertising. Large, corporate companies are more likely to offer paid internships, as they often have funds set aside for such uses.
If a desk job doesn’t suit your interests, there are internships available in other industries too. For example, museums and art exhibitions often bring interns into the business. In this instance, interns may be responsible for customer service and sales (such as in the gift shop), or they may be involved in the delicate transport of art or the setup of museum displays. These internships offer exceptional experiences, especially since some of the biggest museums are overseas and are usually willing to take on foreign interns. Some of these coveted internships are extremely popular and are therefore mostly unpaid.
Sometimes, start-up companies will look for interns to help them get their business up and running. As most internships are unpaid, this can be a great way for companies to start out, as it doesn’t cost them anything. These internships offer great value in terms of knowledge and experience, as being a part of a brand-new company means you will learn lots of new skills related to a variety of different aspects of the business. Being present during the start-up phase of a company also greatly increases your chances of being hired as a paid employee once the internship has finished. Start-ups looking for interns often advertise their available roles online. It can be beneficial to check back regularly, as new companies are always popping up!
In summary, internships are a fantastic way to gain some experience within your chosen field, which can help you down the track when you’re applying for paid work. Having relevant experience listed on your resume will put you ahead of other applicants when job openings arise, making you the front-runner even before the interview stage!