The Kids Are Alright? – Are Internships The New Entry Level Job?
“To get a job, you need experience”
Yes, that old chestnut. It’s a phrase you’ve heard a thousand times and you can’t deny there’s a logic behind it – experience guarantees you understand the ins and outs of the job you’re applying for – but there’s a glaring problem with it. To get a job, you need experience but to get experience, you need a job.
So how do you get around it?
Internships act as the ultimate loophole, giving you the experience you need to move on to employment.
To celebrate International Youth Day, we’re looking at two recent graduates, Emily and Nathan, to see how HR internships helped to develop them professionally since they finished their degrees.
36% of students like Emily apply for an internship or work experience during their studies. “I started applying for internships a few months before I graduated from my literature degree. I knew I wanted to go into publishing or copywriting but wasn’t having much luck getting started. A lot of businesses seem to be hesitant to take on interns, maybe they think it’s a waste of time. After quite a few rejection emails, I finally got an interview to be a HR copy writing intern”
Emily isn’t alone in feeling a certain hesitation on the part of businesses with taking on interns. Offering internships can feel like a risk to your organisation, or even like you’re unnecessarily adding to your employee’s workload but helping graduates find their way in the world of employment can have unexpected benefits.
When Nathan graduated from university with a degree in psychology, he wasn’t sure what his next move should be. “I definitely felt the catch 22 of graduating university, I was qualified but I didn’t have any experience in psychology so I knew the chances of me getting a job were slim. I took on the internship to try before I buy almost and ended up loving an area of work that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.”
Not only did this benefit Nathan professionally, it also proved positive for the business who later took him on in a paid position. For many companies, internships can act as a trial period – allowing the intern to prove their potential and capabilities without the binding nature of a contract. It can also give you a chance to see how they fit within the businesses culture, an extra benefit that regular recruitment doesn’t always allow for.
Internships can be a daunting process all round, after all no one can really know what to expect from it. During the first weeks of her internship, Emily recalls feeling a little overwhelmed. “I definitely felt a little nervous when I started at the company. I wasn’t used to such a professional environment and I didn’t want to let them down after they had given me a chance, but I quickly found that everyone was very friendly and willing to help me settle in. It’s given me a huge confidence boost and invaluable knowledge of the job role that I never would have been able to gain otherwise”.
Just a few weeks of work experience can dramatically change a young person’s view of the workplace. For Emily and Nathan, it was a chance to explore what was out there for graduates in 2017 and gain some real knowledge and skills in a valuable business sector.
Nathan is now a HR assistant, helping his company with admin, correspondence and utilising the invaluable people management skills he gained from his degree. Meanwhile, Emily is continuing her copy writing internship and has had her articles featured in several publications, providing herself and the company with new connections and advertisement.
So… Is your business missing out by not taking a chance on the next generation?