Internship success in 2009

Since getting underway in February this yealogor, Inspiring Interns have been striving to match student and graduates with SMEs in mutually beneficial partnerships. Solving the twin crises of mass youth unemployment and the effect of the recession on small businesses has been our mission plan, and we like to think we’ve done pretty well. Coming soon: Inspiring Interns end poverty and bring about world peace.

In all seriousness 2009 has been a difficult year for many people, as the economic downturn proved to be one of the longest of recent times. Young people (students and graduates in particular) were badly hit by the lack of jobs available. Many have resorted to menial work, for which they are wildly overqualified, in order to make ends meet. Inspiring are working to resolve this situation.

By matching high calibre candidates with smaller enterprises and start-ups we provide outstanding opportunities for young people to boost their CVs with meaningful placements, while new businesses can benefit from the candidates’ many abilities as they look to grow, but without major overheads.

When she came to us Jo was really struggling to find a position relevant to her education, despite having successfully completed a Masters in marketing. She bemoaned the fact that “as there were so many candidates applying to every role, I was not even considered for interviews. I began to feel that all the years I had spent studying were for nothing because I was looking at accepting menial retail jobs in order to pay the bills. I was disheartened, depressed, disillusioned, and very skint!”

Sadly Jo’s story is all too typical of the current job market. Happily, the resolution is very typical of Inspiring’s work (this stuff writes itself sometimes):

“Inspiring totally sorted me out! They helped lift me out of despondency and set me on the right path to eventually securing a permanent, paid position. I am now working for a viral seeding agency in East London, and I am learning loads. I really get stuck in with the daily operations of the agency and my input is valued and respected. I feel that I am on to a good thing now, and I owe a lot of my excitement about the future to Inspiring Interns.” We didn’t even have to pay her to say that or nuffink. How nice.

George was in a very similar position when he came to us a few months ago: “After searching for an internship for almost a year with no luck, Inspiring Interns turned the situation round for me. They found me a position in the exact area I was looking to work in. My time there was so beneficial – with the projects and promotions I was able to take part in or oversee I gained so much.“ Cue a collective ‘ahh’ around the office and an outbreak of feeling warm and fuzzy.

So in a year characterised by much economic negativity, Inspiring Interns have gone some way to helping students and graduates turn the corner in the job market. In fact Gordon Brown has just named us British Company of the Decade*. So why not give us a go?
*He hasn’t. But he should.

Inspiring Interns- specializing in internships and work experience in London – visit http://www.inspiringinterns.com/

Interns to receive government funding

Yesterday Alistair Darling presented the pre-budget report to the country. The furor over the proposed bankers’ bonus tax and the rise in National Insurance has eclipsed one of the positive elements to the plans. Darling said he wanted to, “break down informal barriers which close off some careers to undergraduates from poorer backgrounds,” by offering students from disadvantaged backgrounds financial support for internships.

The plan is a reaction to former minister Alan Milburn’s July report that slammed internships as, “becoming a back-door for better-off, better-connected youngsters.” While some internships are obtained from the proverbial, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” approach, many are obtained through hard work and endless applications. Of course, many are also obtained through fantastic companies like Inspiring Interns!

However, whatever the method, it is unfortunate that some graduates (and their parents) simply cannot afford an internship as, though many companies pay expenses, they do not pay rent, food or gas bills. Regardless of personal politics, here at Inspiring Interns we applaud this proposal and hope that all political parties will consider implementing it in the future.

Inspiring Interns welcomes graduates from all backgrounds and nationalities and the £8m scheme is planned to be ready for summer 2010. Whatever your past, let Inspiring Interns help you on your way to a brighter future by sending your CV to cv@inspiringinterns.com.

Inspiring Interns- specializing in internships and work experience in London – visit http://www.inspiringinterns.com/

Internship now equals employment later

Work experience can unlock opportunities

Work experience can unlock opportunities

Inspiring Interns, who specialise in providing meaningful and mutually beneficial work experience, examine how important doing an internship is for students in the current graduate job market, and how it can impact on your future employment chances. For more see http://www.inspiringinterns.com.

It’s grim out there. Do excuse the cliché but beyond lectures, students loans and Monday nights out there is sadly a real world to deal with. And with the ‘current financial climate’, to use the in-vogue economic leitmotif, it can be very tough for graduates.

I appreciate that you don’t need yet another article lecturing on the pitfalls of being a university leaver looking for work. You only need to switch on the telly or open a paper to have demoralising predictions rammed down your throat.

However…it is perhaps worth thinking about your next steps after leaving the bosom of higher education, and whether you have the requisite skills and experience to secure meaningful employment.

It is all well and good saying you were treasurer of the Lads Night Out Association at university, but increasingly employers are looking for real world work experience, and if the best you can muster is serving pints in the halls bar once a week then perhaps it’s time to start thinking about doing an internship.

As you may well be aware, the larger companies that have a ubiquitous presence on campus do offer perfectly good internship programs. However these are heavily over-subscribed and only suit candidates desperate to break into highly competitive corporate fields.

For many people it is a struggle to write truthful 250 word snippets on why they dreamed of being an accountant from the day they started counting. The hugely time-consuming process of applying for the damn things, filling in mountains of tedious forms with repetitive ‘When did you overcome an obstacle’ type questions just isn’t worth it if you are unsure about your future as a management consultant in a large, soulless organisation.

The trend in the student and graduate job market is now towards gathering experience with smaller businesses and start-ups. Such positions offer flexibility, serious responsibility, and the prospect of a full-time position that offers the variety a strictly structured graduate program does not.

‘How does one get such wonderful experience?’ I hear you cry. Well you could do a lot worse than googling local firms in your field of choice and contacting them to see if they could offer you anything.

Alternatively there exist a number of companies who specialise in matching students and graduates with placements in growing businesses and start-ups, working with candidates to ensure that they get the perfect position for their needs.

Some charge students a fee for their services but others, such as Inspiring Interns (http://www.inspiringinterns.com), are completely free. Inspiring founder Ben Rosen promises meaningful work experience ‘free from coffee-making and photocopying’, in companies where the intern can make a genuine impact on their employer’s fortunes. Whilst many of their candidates go on to be offered a full-time position, all come away with a serious boost to their CV.

So when the spectre of post-uni life next rears its ugly head, give a thought to completing an internship. You’ll thank yourself three years down the line.

Inspiring Interns- specializing in internships and work experience in London - visit http://www.inspiringinterns.com/

Internship / Graduate Scheme Interview Advice

There’s more to life than clothes, but it’s a good place to start…

What to wear to an interview is a potential minefield. Though recruiters should be judging students on their sparkling CVs, not their dress sense, reports state that a staggering 37% of employers have decided against hiring a graduate due to the way they were dressed. Even something as minor as a girl not wearing tights or a guy not wearing a tie can impact on your success.

To suit or not to suit? For most jobs it’s fairly safe to assume suiting up is the way to go (law, finance, management, etc). However, in notoriously image conscious industries such as fashion, advertising, marketing and PR things are not so clear cut.

Tips:

  • Research the agency. If it’s a long established place like JWT or Weber Shandwick, chances are they’re going to approve of the smarter side of dressing with a hint of personality (e.g. colour, statement jewelry, and other interesting accessories). If it’s a younger agency, like VCCP or Mischief it’s better to go with something more casual, yet still professional (e.g. smart jeans but no low cut tops or scruffy t-shirts).
  • Do not go overboard on accessories. Keep it to one interesting piece.
  • There’s usually a recruitment video by current grads. Check to see what they’re wearing in the video and dress similarly.
  • Receptionists know everything. Call the front desk and ask for some inside info. They’re generally very helpful to graduates looking for internships or work experience.
  • Never wear a suit to UK ad agency Mother or you will be called an idiot…or worse (see clip ‘my first day at mother’).
  • If going for a fashion placement then make sure you show your personal style but try and make it fit to the design aesthetic of the company you’re applying to.
  • Before entering the interview for your dream work experience, pop into a local café and check your appearance in the mirror. Check there’s nothing on / in your teeth; clothes are straight; make-up isn’t smudged; and hair is brushed to avoid embarrassment.
  • Carry gum or mints with you for fresh breath – no one wants to know you had the tuna for lunch – but make sure you remove gum before going in.

Top tips for girls:

  • Wear heels but ones you can walk in. 69% of recruiters said girls in heels made a positive impression. From personal experience, if shoes are too high you look like a bit of a numpty tottering along the halls so safe options are wedges or boots.
  • Keep make up understated. You’re going for an interview, not a photo shoot.
  • Do the ‘sitting down test’. You’ll be seated for most of the time so make sure your skirt doesn’t ride up or that trousers are not too constricting.

Top tips for boys:

  • Make sure your shoes are polished and nails are tidy. Attention to small details will show that you care.
  • Take a woman shopping with you. We have an instinct for these things and will stroke your ego.
  • Invest in high quality garments. Worth it in the long run and you can always guilt your mum into paying.

Most importantly – be comfortable. If you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing and feel like you look good then you will naturally exude more confidence and confidence is the foundation of a good interview. If you’re still worried about your outfit then don’t hesitate to come into our London office where we can turn you from slobby student to impressive intern and find you the perfect placement!

Inspiring Interns- specializing in internships and work experience in London - visit http://www.inspiringinterns.com/

Kanye graduates to internship

Kanye boosts his employment prospects with an internship

Kanye boosts his employment prospects with an internship

The news that rapper Kanye West recently started a placement at GAP has served to underline the importance of an internship, particularly for graduate candidates who wish to boost their work experience. Of course Kanye isn’t the first big name to boost his CV by volunteering to intern at a company. Last year melancholic crooner Ryan Adams joined the staff at New York magazine Black Book, where “he helped with sorting mail, filing TPS reports, and composing extemporaneous ballads about retouching cover photos”.

Other famous celebrity interns include Oprah, who completed a journalism placement at a television station in Nashville, Tennessee, while filmmaker Spike Lee was a production intern for Columbia Pictures. Donald Trump, Stephen Spielberg and Bill Gates also went onto greater things after completing internships.

Such examples prove that a placement can be the difference between getting that job of your dreams and sliding into unemployment oblivion.

It has also got us at Inspiring Interns thinking about what other celebrities could benefit from an internship in a new field…

Thierry Henry – Maybe could do some carpentry: he likes working with his hands.

Katy Perry – Would suit something in the PR field – clearly strong on brand management.

Dannii Minogue – Should try out stand-up, excels at keeping a straight face.

Rafael Nadal – Would adapt well to the military with those guns.

Tiger Woods – Driving instructor. It’s a double joke. Think about it.

Rafa Benitez – Absolutely anything; he’ll have plenty of time on his hands soon.

Think you can do better? Not that hard, I know. Either way post your celebrity internship match-ups below…

Inspiring Interns- specializing in internships and work experience in London - visit http://www.inspiringinterns.com/