Today’s job market has become competitive on a global scale. Companies are being more specific with the traits and skills that they look for in candidates. Their lists of requirements have become larger than ever and job seekers are having trouble to meet the demanded criteria.
Employers are always looking for candidates with specialised skills and qualifications. One of the most important factors employers want to see in a candidate’s CV is their work experience. Sometimes a candidate can have impressive qualifications but if the CV doesn’t show any related experience, it will be hard for the employer to trust their expertise.
Experience is booming in value and in this climate and internship is often the essential stepping stone in terms of growing as a professional and gaining experience.
An internship is a temporary position given by a company to students or recent graduates. Often low paid or not paid at all, the idea is that they offer candidates invaluable work experience. However, the modern role of an intern isn’t the traditional stereotype of making coffee and making photocopies. The modern intern becomes a functioning part of the team as soon as possible.
As an intern, you will be given more responsibility than you might expect, as well as having the chance to learn from more experienced colleagues. You will learn new skills from them that become valuable assets for the future in your professional career.
Doing an internship is the best way to gain experience and to upgrade your CV. As an intern, you will gain first-hand information about how companies work and what it’s like to be part of a team in the real world. If you can write on your CV that you have experience working in various fields then you are even more employable. Studies are definitely important, but work experience has become a must.
Because of their short duration (usually 3 to 6 months) internships can give you a brief overview of different industries that you might be interested in. Enrolling in different internship programmes will help you decide your career path if you are still deciding.
And if you are looking for something more adventurous, an internship abroad will double the value of the experience you gain. Job boards such as the Global Talent section on www.aiesec.org or Europe Language Jobs specialise in helping you find the perfect internship abroad.
Working with different companies will allow you to expand your professional network and make useful connections for the future. Making connections with like-minded people will be helpful in your personal and professional development and will come in handy when you start looking for new opportunities or maybe thinking of starting your own business.
Another option to gain work experience is volunteering. Companies give a lot of value to relevant volunteer experience and remember: CVs are often scanned by a computer program to check for keywords and “volunteering” is a major keyword.
Being a volunteer means working and collaborating with a company without any financial compensation. Volunteers enrol in these types of programs because of their passion for the field and the work they will be doing. Often they want to join an organization with a cause, companies or charities that are working to improve our world.
Sometimes, students feel a little hesitant when deciding on doing an internship or a volunteering project. They feel that volunteering wouldn’t give them the same positive effect on their CV’s as an internship. This is not true. Employers look for the candidates that have some experience working, and especially working in a sector they are passionate about. It doesn’t matter if it’s volunteering or with an internship – often there is an area where the two converge anyway. Employers know that both experiences give the candidate new skills and prove that they know how to be part of a team. There are some really attractive opportunities to volunteer that can relate to your career that will only improve your professional experience.
The important thing is that this stepping stone (internship or volunteering position) takes you in the right direction. You need to think long and hard about what it is you’re hoping to achieve in the long run and if a position doesn’t help on the way to your end goal, then you need to consider other options.