Are you thinking of taking an internship after university? Here are the pros and cons to consider before you accept an internship offer after graduation.
What is an Internship?
The Random House Dictionary defines the word internship as: “Any official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession”.
It is also defined as a period of work experience offered by an employer to give graduates or students an idea and first glimpse of the work environment or industry they wish to work in.
Not all internships have a predefined period of work - they can be as short as a week or even a whole year and can be during any time of the year. Internships can also be either unpaid or paid; therefore, all internships need to be discussed and considered before accepting the offer. Remember; it is always important to know your rights.
Okay, you might think that an internship is something only undergraduate students did. But, did you know that a postgraduate internship can be an excellent way to start your career after graduation? Most people want to find a full-time job as soon as they graduate from university, and this is why many people are not keen on the idea of accepting a low-paying or unpaid internship.
But, graduates should do is stop jumping to conclusions about internships before they start one as there are many benefits to accepting an internship after graduating from university.
A graduate internship can be extremely useful especially for students who are graduating at an unusual time - in the winter - or if they are changing their career focus. This way you can take advantage of your “dead time” and get yourself some skills and get you more prepared to begin your career.
Have we convinced you to at least have a look at both the pros and cons of taking an internship after graduation? Here are all the advantages and disadvantages related to a postgraduate internship.
#1 It Will Strengthen Your CV
If you didn’t spend enough time building up your CV during university, then you might not be ready to find a full-time job after university. You might lack experience or be unsure how to fill in some of the blanks on your CV, and you need to fix this ASAP.
An internship is the best way to gain all the necessary experience, skills and accomplishments in just a few months so you can easily jump into a full-time job search when you are done, boasting the right skills and experience on your CV.
#2 Make You More Decisive About the Future
If you have just graduated from university but you are not sure what to do with your life or which direction to take, try interning. Graduate internships, just like all internships are the perfect way to test the waters of an industry or a company. This way you can find out what you truly like and dislike.
#3 Build and Maintain a Network
Another great benefit of taking a postgraduate internship is the great potential it offers to build and expand your professional network. Depending on your internship, you can meet loads of people in your industry and even if they don’t offer you a full-time job at the end of your internship you can form relationships with coworkers, supervisors and other people who can be very beneficial in your future career.
Who knows; by being on their radar, they might help you get a full-time job by recommending you to a friend. Either way, the bigger your network, the greater your chances to succeed.
#4 Some Programs are Specifically for Graduates
Numerous companies offer internship programs specially made for university graduates. Since these internship programs are specifically designed for graduates, you should expect to be treated differently and not like a university student. You will be given more responsibility and trust - as they would with an entry level worker.
#5 You Can Get Hired Permanently
Even though it is not guaranteed, some paid or unpaid internships can lead to full-time employment. Many companies use their internships as a “trial period” for new hires before hiring them on a full-time basis. You need to use your internship strategically to impress your supervisors and managers which can help you land a full-time job.
#6 Gain Real Experience
Just like student internships, graduate internships related to your field of study can help you apply all the theories you learnt at university in the real world. This way you will slowly transition from academia to the job market and gain the right skills and experience you might be lacking for a full-time job. Once you have more practical experience and skills on your CV, your job hunt will be more successful.
#1 Some Internships Can Be Slave Labour
One of the most important issues that give internships such a social stigma is the fact that many employers take advantage of recent graduates and use internship programs as a way of getting free labour. To avoid negative publicity some great companies have actually completely removed their intern programmes.
It is important to make sure that you will be treated with respect and appreciation before accepting an internship and agree whether it will be paid or unpaid and what kind of benefits or training you will receive..
#2 Nothing is Guaranteed
As I mentioned earlier, there is a possibility that you will get hired permanently. However, nothing is guaranteed, and there may never be the possibility of a job. You can hope that the company you are working for will acknowledge and appreciate your talent and impeccable work ethic, but, they are under no obligation (unfortunately) to offer you a job at the end of your internship.
On the other hand, an internship program may not be the best fit for you and working for them might not be good for your career. So even if they do not offer you a job, it might be the better for you in the long run.
If you are like most university graduates, taking an internship might not be your first choice, even though in today’s market it could be the best option you have. But, taking all the advantages I have mentioned into consideration such as the additional experience and networking, taking an internship after university can be the best way for you to get the job of your dreams.
Try to ignore the stigma around postgraduate internships and who knows; you might find that the best thing for you right now is to intern for a while.
Are there any other good reasons to intern after graduating university? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…