The internship: essential yet elusive. Searching for a placement can be a nightmare. This article will show you how to secure yourself the necessary placement for your future career.
Image via Evan Bench
Despite recent controversy surrounding the treatment of interns, work placements remain a vital pathway for many careers. However, finding them in the first place can be incredibly difficult. There comes a point where typing ‘internships, London’ into Google is not enough. Going beyond the search engine, this article will demonstrate the most effective methods of finding and most importantly, securing an internship or work placement.
Searching for internships online is the most convenient and common method of locating potential internships. ‘ratemyplacement.com’ not only allows users to look at reviews of internships and employer profiles, as the name suggests, but search for internships across a wide range of sectors. The website is designed for easy-navigation, avoiding any added stress to the process. Other useful intern sites are ‘milkround.com’ and ‘inspiringinterns.com’.
Surprisingly, your social media can be a fantastic place to search for internships. Twitter is excellent because of the ability to search for trends, including ‘placement’ and ‘internship’. There are also accounts with tailor-made tweets for interns in specific countries, cities, and sectors. Prospective fashion interns should follow @Ukfashionintern, and for those wanting to go into media following @themediadirectory is useful. It is also worth looking for specific company ‘job’ twitter accounts. For example, IPC Media, one of the UK’s largest magazine publishers, has an account dedicated to advertising jobs at the company.
WARNING: This does not mean you should be tweeting your favourite company asking how to get an internship (this goes for all social media). You may not get a response, and you will look unprofessional and lazy. You never know who is watching, so remain professional and only use the links provided to apply for positions, using the rest of the information as purely research and leads.
As well as searching for jobs, knowing your prospective employer inside-out, and getting yourself known is incredibly important for gaining internships. LinkedIn allows you to do all of the above.
By creating a profile which reads like a CV, others are able to view your experience and education, and can lead to you being head-hunted by a company looking for a person with specific skills. Whilst this is unlikely in the early stages of your career, LinkedIn also allows you to research the company you are interested in and keep up-to-date with industry news which is incredibly useful for interviews.
Furthermore, having completed your internship, LinkedIn will allow you to put your networking to good use by connecting with others in the industry, giving you useful contacts for future work.
They say first impressions count and if your desired internship is local, it could be useful to hand in your CV in person. Whilst you may not be able to get past the reception desk, the fact that you personally couriered your application to the office could leave a very good impression. Likewise, if the company you wish to intern with holds events in your area, go along and make use of the chance to network (and then add them on LinkedIn!), you never know where your newfound connections might lead.
Your university will offer a whole host of useful information on gaining internships. Look out for networking events and graduate job fairs in particular. However, it is also worth noting that you should be using the contacts in your department. Your lecturers are academics and they love the same subjects you do! They are bound to have connections in your chosen career path, so it is always worth asking. Even if it is just an email address, it opens a door for you, so let your interests be known to your personal tutors and lecturers.
Internships may be elusive, but they are not impossible to find. Looking online can be the most effective method as long as you choose your websites carefully. It is also worth noting that many companies choose to advertise internships exclusively on their own websites. For example, Strategy currently has a marketing internship opportunity for students in Bristol and Bath. Where vacancies are not visible, there is nothing wrong with a personal email or a face-to-face visit. Good luck!
Have you found any of these websites particularly useful for internship-searching? Do you know of any more online resources? Share your knowledge in the comments below!
Rhiannon is an English literature student studying at Royal Holloway, University of London. Following her internship with Elle Magazine, she hopes to enter into fashion journalism.
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