Some things are just fact, like your housemate stealing all your snacks. Another fact is that work experience helps you get your dream job, and there’s no better work experience than an internship.
First things first though, you need to have a long think about what you want to do.
• all the things you love doing,
• all your work experience and
• what you want from your graduate job
When know what your dream job is find internship opportunities to match. Don’t rule anything in or out until you’ve looked at the application criteria – I have an internship with one of the big four accountancy firms and I’m doing an English degree. Yeah I know, I didn’t think they’d do that either, but you have a lot more to offer than just your degree.
Use the careers guidance in Careers Network, book an appointment with an advisor, use wikijobs, ask friends, family, the dog – do anything to find out everything about your fields of interest. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few organisations you’d like to have an internship with, find out if they have a specific internship program. If not, just ask one of our careers advisors and they can talk you through approaching organisations for work experience – here’s the link to book appointments: http://www.intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/careers. If your dream organisation does have an application process read on….
Basically, the earlier you start the better your chance of getting the internship because a) you’ll do a better job on the application process and b) some companies fill up places as they go, meaning if you start an application the night before the chances of there being places left is slim. Also, it’s generally a bad idea to try and apply to 15 different programs by copying and pasting the same answer of each. The companies will know you’ve done it and you’re better off targeting your energies to a handful of places and making a good job of applying.
Essentially, know what you’re letting yourself in for: from online application forms to assessment centres and face-to-face interviews there are numerous ways organisations assess applicants. To find out how to prepare, look at the website. Again. If they have a list of five key things they want from you write down examples which how amazing you are at those things! Then practice, practice, practice – go online for practice tests, ask an application advisor to read your application before you send it and rope some volunteers in to watch you practice your presentation skills. You can even book a mock interview at Careers Network if you have an upcoming interview!
So basically, make sure you chose something you want to do because the more you love it the more they’ll love you. Research until you know the company inside out. Understand the application process and prepare, so you have the best shot of getting that internship. Ask Careers Network for help – we’re free and amazing at careers stuff. Good luck!
Careers Network has scores of internships advertised on its Jobs Online database.