If you have found yourself reading this post, then you most likely already know what an Internship is. For those of you who have fallen a Google hole, an internship is typically a position at a company that is reserved for students. Internships allow these student workers to gain some ‘real world’ experience while (hopefully) earning some money.
Paid Vs Unpaid Internships
Some Internships are paid, and some are not. Personally, I think unpaid internships are exploitive of young people and should be banned in New Zealand. Employers are getting an economic benefit from the work you do so why shouldn’t you be paid? Unpaid internships also disadvantage candidates that don’t have parents who can pay their rent and buy them a box of Pals every weekend. When you are an unpaid intern, you are classed as a volunteer so you can say see ya later to any employee rights you think you might be entitled too. If a company offers you an unpaid internship, you should really consider if that company is the right choice for you. Do they really “value” their employees like they say on their website…..hmmm, maybe not.
You can rest assured that any internship you see listed on JobNow is paid. We don’t allow them otherwise.
Now that I have got my unpaid internship rant out of the way (I feel much better, thanks for asking) let’s have a look at some of the benefits of an internship.
If you haven’t had a job before your Internship, then this will give you your first taste of work life. You will start dealing with real customers and real problems. You will make your first mistake (one that hopefully doesn’t cost the company millions of dollars), and you will have your first ‘so this is the rest of my life’ moment. You will also have Friday drinks to look forward to now where you will get to chat to Ben from accounts on a semi-regular basis, so that's something to look forward too.
Once you start working, you will realise you have less time for the things you enjoy doing outside of work. That doesn’t mean you have to give these things up; it just means you will have to be more organised and develop routines that allow you to keep doing these activities. Whether that is getting up early in the morning, so you get a gym sesh done before work or making sure you get your meal prep sorted on Sunday nights, so you have lunches for the week ahead (trust me you don’t want to be buying your lunch every day from the office cafe). Learning how to develop solid routines is a good habit to get in to and will only benefit you in the years ahead.
“It’s not what you know its who you know.” We have all heard this before and to be honest, I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken. Networking is a crucial aspect of building a successful career. We all know someone who can barely tie their shoelaces but has an excellent job. Chances are they are good at networking. When you start your internship, you are going to have dealings with people much more experienced than you. These may be your colleagues or your clients. That very client could be your future employer, so its important to make a good impression and to develop strong relationships over time. From getting new ideas on how to do business, to gaining access to new job opportunities, there are lots of benefits to networking, and it's never too early to start.
Building Your CV
On most job listings, it is a commonplace for an employer to say they are looking for someone with “experience.” Even if it is for an entry-level role….madness! If you have done an Internship before joining the workforce proper, then this gives you a big advantage over candidates that haven’t. Employers will like the fact that you have put in the effort to go out and get your self an internship and that you are serious about developing your career. Even if your internship was doing a job that isn’t related to a job you apply for in the future, it still shows that you have had experience in a work environment and can bring some knowledge with you. There are always transferable skills that you develop performing a job that you can apply to a future job.
Do I Need to Do an Internship?
Without question, Internships are a valuable thing to have on your CV, and many benefits come from doing them. Do you need to do an internship to be successful in your career? Absolutely not. It does, however, depend on what industry you’re looking to get into. If you want to become a lawyer, then doing an internship makes it a hell of a lot easier to get your first gig at a firm. Suppose you’re at Uni and have no idea what you want to do once you finish your studies (this was me) then no need to panic. Most graduates get their first job at a company without an internship and work their way up from there.
If you are worried about the lack of experience on your CV, then another great thing you can do is complete online courses. They are a great way to upskill, and again, employers like to see the extra effort you are showing to better yourself. Give my article a read on the 5 best free online courses and see what courses you can get complete today to improve your CV.