Like a lot of graduates, I ended up leaving university with no real idea of what to do next. Most of my friends shrugged and confessed they’d “probably just do a master’s”, but I knew that going back into education and racking up more student debt was not the solution for me. So, I began searching for jobs online.
Unfortunately, many employers don’t see the irony in offering “entry-level” jobs that also require five years’ experience. When you’re fresh out of uni and excited to join the workforce, it can be discouraging to find that many others expect you to work full time in exchange for lunch money, if anything at all. I needed to find an opportunity where gaining experience and getting paid weren’t mutually exclusive, so I chose an internship at Zinc.
Here are four reasons why I believe internships can help brighten your prospects:
Fundamentally, you can get your feet wet and gain valuable experience in the industry you want to go into. By doing an internship, you’ll most likely be allowed to try your hand at absolutely anything and will get to experience working life from different perspectives. This way, you’ll be flexible and learn a little (or a lot!) about a lot, rather than be confined to one single job role and its duties.
Whatever the outcome, you’ll always leave an internship knowing more than when you arrived. Everyone will welcome your open mind and questions you may have because they know you are here to learn. You’re able to learn from people who have been in the business for years, who can teach you new skills about the industry, and perhaps even about life.
Internships are essentially a trial run. You don’t feel trapped because all you’re doing is testing the waters and seeing if this is what you enjoy. You get to experiment, try new things without the pressure of being wrong, and learn from your and your colleagues’ mistakes.
You’ll be required to work in teams as well as on your own. This means learning to communicate clearly and professionally with lots of different characters and personalities. This should help to increase your confidence and allow you to grow both as a worker and a person. Just make sure this confidence doesn’t swell into arrogance because no one likes an arrogant colleague!
Internships ultimately offer young people a great opportunity to learn on the job and gain an understanding of the corporate world. In my opinion, it’s worth taking the plunge and applying to kickstart your career, with the hope that you will become part of an organisation that will value your input.