For graduates entering the workforce, landing that first job can be something of a catch-22. Even entry-level jobs often require some hands-on experience, but it can be difficult to get experience without having a job.
This is where an internship can provide you with a helpful foot in the door, by allowing you to gain vital skills and professional experience. Internships in Australia a largely unpaid, but don’t let the lack of a wage put you off – the right internship could be all you need to get your next paid job.
Applying for an internship
Applications for internships should be treated with the same care and professionalism as any job application. Submit an up-to-date resume tailored for the position, a unique cover letter for each internship you apply for, and, of course, make sure your documents are free of spelling and grammatical errors.
Explain why you’d like to intern for that company in particular – you don’t want to come across as looking for any internship you can get. Do your research on the business and describe what it is that about them you find interesting or exciting.
When writing your application, think about what you can offer the company, not just what you are hoping to gain. You might not have professional experience, but highlighting relevant skills and personality traits will help to show why you would be a favorable candidate.
Getting the most out of your internship
Be professional – you might be the youngest person in the room, and you might not be getting paid, but maintaining a professional attitude and demeanor will prove you are ready to enter the workforce.
Keep track of your achievements – A successful internship should be a positive experience for both the intern and the company. By keeping track of the things you learn each day or the achievements you make, it will help you to see what you are gaining from your placement and keep you enthusiastic about the role.
Ask for guidance – Make the most of being surrounded by people with experience in your industry. It could be as simple as asking for help with the task at hand, to finding out more about career paths or even finding a mentor.
At the end of your internship
In some lucky instances, an unpaid internship can lead to a full-time paid position either at the same level or in a different role within the company. But even if it doesn’t get you a job directly, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when the placement comes to an end.
Stay in touch – If you have made friends or contacts during the course of the internship, be sure to stay in touch. You never know when someone might reach out with a job opportunity.
Ask for a reference – Ask your supervisor or manager if you can list them as a referee on your future job applications, or if they would provide a written reference. You could also request a recommendation to add to your LinkedIn profile.
Update your resume – Don’t forget to add your experience to your resume and LinkedIn profile. List your duties and achievements for the role, but be sure to clarify that it was an internship.
Tips provided by the internship team ; Australia’s leading site for graduate jobs and internships.