An internship is a paid or unpaid position in a company, where interns gain valuable opportunities to learn and gain work experience. Internships can be full time or part-time and may be required as part of your degree. Internships are valuable learning experiences for university undergrads.
Internships provide opportunities to learn from those who have ‘been there, done that’ and gives interns an opportunity to test drive different jobs and areas of specialisation. Vanessa, a Graduate at Westpac, said that the Summer Internship at Westpac gave her “a taste of what it would be like to work in certain teams and areas.”
Priyank, a Graduate Aerospace Engineer at Airbus, completed an internship at a civil aviation company.
“I particularly enjoyed this role as I got to experience the hands-on working environment as well as the technical engineering involved in the aviation industry.”
- Priyank, Airbus
Completing an internship gives potential graduates an insight into the business, giving you a taster of what it might be like in their graduate program. Timothy Alice, the Business Analyst at Commonwealth Bank, started work with CommBank as an intern.
“My workmates went out of their way to ensure that I was learning, engaged and enjoying my time with the bank. Having had such a terrific experience as an intern, I decided to apply for a Graduate role.”
- Timothy Alice, CommBank
In the 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey, 28% of graduates failed to secure full-time employment within four months of finishing their degree. Being selected for and completing an internship will help your resume stand out. Completing an internship demonstrates traits and attributes such as initiative, commitment, teamwork and organisational skills. Though employers should not automatically exclude candidates without work experience, featuring work experience on your resume, such as an internship will more than likely get you ahead.
A stumbling block for a number of graduates is the lack of reliable referees. Taking the opportunity to complete an internship builds relationships with employers who can provide references for future employment. Employers often perceive reference checks as essential, to ensure they are hiring candidates who fit their work ethic and culture, and that you have the desired skills set for the role. Referees are an important source of information for recruiters, providing a first-hand account of your employability, and attributes such as communication skills, reliability and ability to work in a team. Don’t have referees?
The learning opportunity goes two ways - internships not only allow future graduates to try out an employer, but employers also gain the opportunity to see potential graduates in action, leading to full-time work opportunities. It gives you a chance to demonstrate what you are capable of, to show your attributes that don’t show on paper and can’t be described in a cover letter. Tiana Podinic, a Tax & Legal Graduate at PwC, interned at PwC through their Vacation Program, before being offered a graduate position in Sydney. Michael Shao, Analyst at Morgan Stanley, completed an Internship in Sydney which resulted in a full-time role at the investment bank.
An internship has the potential to assist you in building a life-changing network. Internships may provide the opportunity to participate in teams, meetings and events, raise your profile and potentially find a mentor. Effective, sincere networking can provide opportunities to assist other professionals and potentially secure future employment. Some researchers estimate that up to 85% of jobs are filled through networking, not applications or internal recruitment - so if you’re not networking, you’re missing out.
Take a leap: Olivia Wise, Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley, completed an internship in Melbourne and Sydney which lead to a full-time position as an analyst after graduation. Her advice,
“Don’t let self doubt hold you back. If you’re thinking of applying, just go for it.”
- Olivia Wise, Morgan Stanley