Summer, usually doesn’t involve doing a summer internship. Instead for many university students, means the arrival of relaxation, followed by Netflix and nothing (catching up on all those shows you missed forever ago). Late night study sessions cease, stressful examinations come to a halt, and all them pounds gained during the term time can be worked off. Most students will be spending their summer holidays poolside, using their possible 5 months summer break soaking up sun and perfecting their tans.
If you’re a university student then you should know how difficult the job market is… If not, then hate to break it to you… It’s very competitive. With more and more young people graduating with honours each year, having a degree is simply put, just not enough anymore.
So how do you stand out from the rest in such a competitive job market? Well, interning during your summer break is probably the best option. This is because internships offer real-life work experience in a prospective career field. For most university students, the word “internship” is not unfamiliar, however, can be quite frightening. The best way to approach an internship is not as a requirement like your end-of-year finals, but more as a stepping stone to opportunities outside of the lecture hall.
What is the purpose of doing a summer internship?
The number one question asked at job interviews after graduation is “where did you intern?” It’s a good idea to have a ready answer to that question in order to stand out from the score of applicants. Not only do students who complete a summer internship get hands-on experience, but they’re also building their CVs too.
The idea of a summer internship is that you get to know now rather than after graduation, whether that dream career you’ve visioned is really right for you… Most graduates begin working jobs after graduation they don’t like because they didn’t know any better. Therefore a summer internship is a good way to curb that likelihood… You can always summer in Cabo another time!!
Completing a summer internship will provide you with an opportunity to network like never before. If you ask most university students, they’ll all admit that their professional network just doesn’t exist. Summer internships change that. Students leave internships with a Rolodex of professional contacts who can help and assist them gain future employment (don’t know what a Rolodex is? You need this internship during your summer break).
What are the key benefits of a summer internship?
1) Develop critical thinking skills
One of the main reasons of completing an internship is that it will give you the chance to gain experience in a real workplace, developing upon the skills learned during your degree. – such as analysis and teamwork applied to the work. It will also give you the opportunity to further develop upon new critical thinking skills before you have graduated from university.
2) Secure future employment
Summer internships can act as both on the job training and a protracted audition for a full-time job within the organization you are interning at. Even if the summer internship doesn’t lead to a new, full-time role right away, most employers prefer to hire tried and tested interns over new candidates giving you an edge over other candidates.
3) Try before you buy into a career
Although your degree will teach you all about case studies, concepts and theories useful for your future career, nothing can ever compare to real work experience. It allows you to experience new things and put into action all that you have learned.
How to apply for summer internships?
For students looking to do a summer internship, there are various times to consider applying to intern for a company, depending on their hiring methods and types of internships you are interested in. For instance, bigger companies such as HSBC UK, Royal Bank of Canada or Microsoft UK then they might have summer internship roles made available during university term time that you will have to look out for and apply accordingly to their deadline requirements. So if you are considering a summer internship at a large multinational, then it is best to reach out as soon as possible.
However, for those interested in gaining experience as a summer intern at a startup or SME, then their application process may differ from that of a larger multinational. Therefore, communicating interest to one of these businesses and expressing your reasons to want to intern at their company for the summer may lead to a further communication regarding the possibility of a summer internship within their company.
How long are summer internships?
Summer internships are usually 8 to 12 weeks long and follow that of the university semesters. Depending on whether you finish for the summer, your internship will begin in either May or June and continues until August. Before starting any summer internship, all employers will ask you detail your end date from university, so as to plan accordingly a suitable start date. So be sure to have this information to give to an employer.
Are summer internships paid?
Now onto the more sensitive information of completing a summer internship – whether they are paid or not. Depending on the employer and if they hire for summer intake of interns, a summer internship will only be paid if the employer is actively looking to fill their roles for interns during the summer break. Therefore, if you reach out to an employer asking to complete a summer internship, there is a likelihood that it will not be paid. However, it is important to establish this before starting and have any and all payment information to be detailed in your contract, signed before starting your summer internship.
How to prepare for a summer internship?
It’s important that before your summer internship, you have at least made some preparations before starting. To help, we have devised a pre-internship checklist that covers everything you will need before your summer internship:
If you have planned to do a summer internship, make sure you haven’t planned any trips, or double booked yourself for long periods of time. A summer internship doesn’t last very long and therefore it won’t look too good if you spent half your time finding yourself on the shores of Fiji! So, be smart and commit to the time expected of your summer internship.
2. Find housing/means of transport
Most students often find summer internships that are only a commute away for them. Especially if the internship is not paid, this is an ideal scenario, as you can still live at home and not need to dip into the bank of mum and dad!
However, many students opt to do summer internships in other countries. This type of foreign internships is fantastic to put in your CV. In addition, the experience you will receive working in another country and experiencing another culture is something not many university students have experienced. Although it sounds great moving away to another country to intern over the summer, just remember that this means you will have to relocate and with that comes a heap of unexpected things you will have to do. For instance:
- Find housing for the weeks/months needed when you are interning
- Register to live in the country you are moving to
- Contact your bank to explain the temporary change in location
If you’re interested in doing a summer internship abroad or staying at home then check out our guide on everything you need to know before starting an internship.
3. Make some contact with your team or line manager before starting
It’s a little random if you just come into your summer internship on your first day having never made any previous contact with at least someone you will be working closely with. During any internship or work placement, the company will usually reach out to explain your introductionary schedule, work information you will need for your first day, etc, but it is always best to reach out before starting. This way it demonstrates an eagerness to start and good levels of communication.
4. Get a head start and do some prior research on the company/the work you will be doing
Okay, let’s be clear when we say ‘do research’ that doesn’t mean stalk your boss’ Facebook page as far back as 2011. It is not a good start if you awkwardly mention his family vacation to him on your first day. Instead, research as much into the company as possible. Get the best possible idea on what it will be like working at this company so that you will have the best possible understanding on your first day.
In addition, research as much as possible into the role and work responsibilities you will be covering during your summer internship. It is very unlikely that your employer will not explain your day-to-day responsibilities, so check out all that you will be asked to do and create as much knowledge as possible so as to impress during your time interning.
5. Go shopping
This point combines with point 4. If you do your research on the organization beforehand, then you will know what the company culture is like. In addition, how most people dress to work and get an idea of what is expected. There is nothing worse than showing up on your first day suited and booted, while everyone else in the company is in jeans and cargo shorts… so don’t be that intern! If you are worried about this, then you should reach out to someone at the company you have had previous contact with to ensure everything looks alright!
How to find summer internships?
Before applying for a summer internship, you need to make sure you have all the necessary materials together needed when applying for summer internships – so prioritize your top targets.
Create your dream list of summer list: Include company names and contact information of those you would like to obtain work experience from during your summer break. Before applying, get all the required information needed together and if there are any deadlines.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: Don’t apply for just 10 internships (I know what you’re thinking, you can apply for more than 1?)… If 10 days have passed and you haven’t heard back from anyone, you are going to apply for more – remember that!
So what are you waiting for? There is still time to land that perfect summer internship! So don’t miss out. Sign up to Magnet.me today and start discovering companies offering summer internships that best interest you.