How To Find A Business Internship
Internships are becoming an increasingly important entry route into many career areas. To a large extent, this has been driven by the extremely competitive jobs market on two grounds. It is currently an employer’s market and businesses can pick and choose between excellent recruits. Landing a dream job is no longer simply a matter of having a strong CV, smart clothing and an impressive interview technique. Compounding the challenging job market is the fact that many organisations have had to drastically cut their overheads which means they are understaffed in some areas. This has led to the rise of the internship culture in the UK, both paid and unpaid, and there is increasing competition for places.
In the past, many managers have employed people based on how good they appear on paper and how well they perform during the recruitment process. But this is no guarantee of a strong candidate. Internships mean that a business can put potential employees through their paces and see whether they thrive or just survive in the business environment. Many blue chip companies and top organisations now only recruit for graduate positions through their internship schemes. So any graduate or college leaver who wants to get a foot on the corporate ladder needs to start exploring potential opportunities.
Start with your college or university careers office as they will know of opportunities or be able to point you in the right direction. There are numerous online resources available so it is worth doing some research. A particularly good site is the UK’s official graduate careers site, Prospects at www.prospects.ac.uk which has a placement finder. Or, if you know that you want to work for a certain organisation, check out their website for details of any opportunities.
Be flexible about your internship. If you find that you can’t get a placement in your preferred field, then think about opportunities in other areas because it will still enhance your CV and give you some beneficial experience. It will also show potential employers that you have a get up and go attitude. For example, say you want to work in a top flight accountancy organisation but you can’t get an internship. Check out opportunities in the charity or non-government organisation sector. Many of these are big national organisations and they are often very pleased to take on high calibre candidates. This would be a good way to develop your financial acumen in a real working situation which will enable you to impress future employers.
In the same way that many of the best jobs never get advertised, many internships are snapped up through the grapevine. This is a classic case of it is not what you know, but who you know. Even the public sector, which has gruelling recruitment methods to ensure fair play, often offers informal internship opportunities that don’t get advertised. So exploit your networks. If you want to work in marketing, spend some time thinking about who you already know who works in that area. Think widely, and ask your friends and family whether they know anyone. Tell them that you’re looking for an opportunity and give them a copy of your resume. Often, the fact that you come from a personal recommendation will help you to get a foot in the door.
Finally, once you have your placement, think about your working wardrobe. Think of your internship as an ongoing job interview. Not only does your performance need to be top notch, but you need to look the part too. This is a worthwhile investment so try to organise some smart clothing to help you create the right impression because you never know who will be observing you at work.
Depending on your placement, you might be provided with a workplace uniform or you might be expected to buy your own. Try to find out what the expected business wear is and blend in. Now is not the time to make a fashion statement or show off your individual streak. Look for a combination of durability, quality and value. Websites like www.simonjersey.com have an excellent selection of hard wearing corporate clothing ranging from medical uniforms through to sharp suits.
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