Internships form an integral part of a university students career path, as it provides you the opportunity to test your skill set and interests in your field of interest. They are generally paid work placements which provide students with the opportunity to be trained and gain valuable work experience.
Most employers will advertise for their internship programs in July and August, with students interning over the summer period. However, there has been a trend in recent years with many employers like PwC, Accenture and Deloitte opening up application times earlier in the year, around February and March.
Generally, internships are aimed at students completing their penultimate year of study. However, that’s not to say that if you are indeed in your final year of study, you can’t apply for internship programs. Employers will also ask applicants to have the necessary working rights to complete work experience in New Zealand.
Whilst ‘internships’ are the most common method of employment for students still at university, there are also cadetships, vacation jobs, and some unpaid internships. There has been a crackdown in the past few years from the Fair Work department in regards to unpaid internships, however, there are some roles that are unpaid, however, the experience gathered on the job can equate to valuable course credits. This is most common in engineering subjects, however its best to discuss these opportunities with your careers team on campus, who will be able to provide more information based on the degree you’re studying.
As they are a variety of internships, there is no one way to apply. Employers who offer structured internships will set an open and closing date for applications. You will be required to provide a cover letter and resume, and most often your academic transcript. After you apply, employers will generally confirm that they have received your application and then provide expectations on when they will be in contact to notify you whether or not you’ve progressed to the next stage. Some employers will provide feedback if you’re not successful, as they are dealing with large numbers of applicants. For applicants who are successful, you’ll most likely be notified via email, and employers will set up either a psychometric test or a phone screen. Once completing the second screening process, you will be invited to the interview stage, where it’s your chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the employer, and how you and the skills you’re learning in your degree can benefit the organisation.
It's important to take note of the industry that you have applied too, as this answer will vary. The best approach is to research the employer and industry you have applied too, look at graduate profiles and see how they dress and then make a decision based on your findings. If you do indeed have friends or family that have completed internships or work in your industry of choice, it won’t hurt to ask them either. Our team also recently wrote some pointers on what to wear to an interview, which is a helpful start.
And it would be remiss for us not to advise to keep a close eye on the GradNewZealand job board for all the latest internship jobs. You can also sign up for free to receive job alerts which are sent straight to your inbox!