University is great, but internships make a difference.
Traditionally, earning a University degree was a guaranteed sign of future success, a direct route onto the job ladder. But in today’s job market this is no longer the case. The number of students going to university is increasing each year and the current job market for graduates is slowly improving but is not as it once was before the recession hit.
I completed a 3 month marketing internship position with Launch22, starting as soon as I finished my last university exam. I studied business at University, however I learnt much more about business in 3 months as an intern than in 3 years of reading about business from a textbook. There’s not much to gain from learning the leadership styles that were prevalent in the 50s, 60s or 70s.. SO here are a few of my thoughts on what a Launch22 internship has meant to me.
It’s tough out here. Employers are claiming graduates do not have the skills they are looking for and as a result, grads are struggling to get a job they feel their years of education should have prepared them for. 21% of under 25s in the EU are unemployed after coming out of University and Peter Cappelli of Washington Post suggests “employers have unrealistic expectations of candidates and are unwilling to train new hires”.
A 2:1 degree no longer guarantees you a job offer. Graduates who have some work experience or who have completed an internship may be able to separate themselves from the rest of the candidates however. Internships can be a fantastic way of getting ahead with the benefits including the following:
1. Learn more about your field or industry: For individuals who have studied a broad subject such as ‘business’, there are many areas to specialise in after you graduate and it can be tricky to choose the specific industry you want to go into. An internship is the perfect way of testing the water.
2. Decide if this is the right path for you: Before applying for internships you need to do your homework. How many times have you heard students or graduates say “I don’t know what I want to do with my life?”. An internship in a field that you are considering is a great start to answering this question. You get to find out if you would enjoy pursuing this career path as well as learning about other possible paths whilst doing it.
3. Develop and build upon skills: A significant flaw many graduates experience is their lack of confidence in their own abilities in the real world. An internship is a place where you can develop these as well as learn new skills that are hugely advantageous to have in future employment opportunities.
4. Gain valuable networking contacts: One of the biggest benefits to completing an internship is the contacts you gain and the people you meet. I was fortunate enough to meet some fantastic people who have helped me land a new job and notify me about unadvertised job opportunities.
5. Get your foot in the door at a company: Recruiters have confirmed that 32% of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations — either through paid internships, industrial placements or vacation work.
6. Learn about the world of work: Although most students and graduates have worked before (perhaps at a bar or two) it is not likely to be anything like an internship role. The value in seeing how a business is run, experiencing your day to day tasks and interacting with a team as well as your customers is incredible.
You can find out more about Launch22’s internship program at www.launch22.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org