To intern or not to intern? That is the question many soon-to-be or recent graduates keep asking themselves. With repeated media coverage suggesting that internships are exploitive, many may be tempted to skip the temping.
But when done right, internships are a hugely valuable experience for young career starters. Here’s why:
Unless you’re working for a charity or doing a placement year as part of your degree, UK companies must pay interns at least the minimum wage. Ergo, interning through your university holidays will boost your CV and your bank account.
58% of employers say past work experience is the most important thing they look for when hiring graduates. Just 16% cared more about degree grades. Internships are a great way to start learning these key skills in related industries.
Networking is super important for your career – some studies suggest up to 85% of employees are hired through contacts. Internships will introduce you to key people in your chosen industry and give you access to great references, invaluable mentors and helpful informational interviews.
4. Try Before You Buy
Sometimes, working the job you thought you wanted may reveal that it’s not actually right for you. But quitting several permanent roles in a short space of time will make you look like a job hopper – a characteristic 40% of hiring managers mark as the biggest obstacle for job-hunters.
Internships, however, are understood to be temporary placements. That means you can get a feel for whether an industry suits you before having to commit long-term.
5. A Full-Time Job
Graduate jobs are competitive. But almost three-quarters of students with paid internships under their belt receive a job offer before graduation.
Beth Leslie is a career and lifestyle writer. She is also the editor of the Inspiring Interns blog, which gives graduate careers advice to career starters.