It’s a chicken and egg situation… you need experience to get a good job, but you can’t get the job you need to get that experience. It can make you feel a bit stuck! Internships are one great way to pick up some experience and in London, there are some excellent options for short term, Summer internships with some impressive companies.
What is an internship?
An internship is a short term placement with an employer for the purposes of gaining experience in a certain sector. In the UK interns are almost always paid at least the minimum wage (sometimes more) and they take place during the Summer university breaks. Ideally, you want to get an internship with a company that you are interested in for a long term role.
Many companies use interns as part of the recruitment process – allowing them to check out your skills before deciding to hire you on a permanent basis. They might also offer training and work schemes to allow you to combine your university work with your internship.
How to get an internship in London
Yes, good internships exist – but getting one might feel like the proverbial needle in a haystack. But there are a few tricks you can have up your sleeve to push you to the front of the queue.
- Use a specialised agency. Many of these exist across London and they work with companies specifically on finding the right candidates for internships. Make sure you are registered with all of those that work in your niche.
- Call companies direct. If you have an idea of where you would like to work, try giving them a direct call. They may have special programs they can let you know about or they might take you up on it.
- Check company websites. Many London workplaces will have information for prospective internships on their websites.
- Talk to your university careers officer. Universities work hard to make connections with companies offering work experience placements.
- Talk to friends and family. Business owners that you already know might not have thought about an intern until you cheekily mention it to them.
Once you have your foot through the door, you really need to make sure that this 6-week placement works for you. Ask questions, get noticed, challenge yourself and work hard. You might just find that when you are ready, you have a job waiting for you.