What’s the best way for you to secure a graduate job?

A survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 61% of employers saw a lack of skills as the biggest obstacle to recruitment. A quarter of graduates have said their degree did not equip them with the skills needed for the workplace. Tom Richmond, policy advisor to the CIPD, recently told the Independent that work experience will make a big difference when applying for graduate jobs this year.  “There may be long waiting lists and rejection, but you’ve just got to keep plugging away, because experience is often the decisive factor that gets you the job.  The skills you can get in an internship – things like teamwork and communication you can’t always get through a degree.

As a senior recruitment officer at Shell, Nimai Swaroop deals with thousands of internship applicants each year. A former intern himself, he’s emphatic about the benefits. “It’s a great platform, giving practical opportunities and confidence,” he says. “Of the 14,000 applications we had last year, 130 successes came from our internship programme.”

Even without a job offer, internships are advantageous. Yosuke Homma, 24, interned at legal firm Simmons and Simmons  and found it a hugely positive experience, despite not receiving a job offer. “I came away knowing that I wanted to work for a large international firm,” says Homma. “I’ve now got a contract with another top firm and my internship helped – it showed I had experience.” As well as bolstering your CV, an internship provides valuable specialist training, particularly for those studying non-vocational subjects, says Homma. “Having studied biology, interning gave me the opportunity to understand what solicitors did on a day-to-day basis. There was a decent effort at training us, with lectures on professional skills and resources available for research.”

Internships can also help forge your eventual career path. According to High Flyers Research, a quarter of final year students surveyed had applied to jobs they had little or no interest in. Benedict Hazan, a graduate mentor at Inspiring Interns, has advised hundreds of graduates on roles suited to them. His advice is: “Don’t feel rushed to join the rat race and get stuck in a job you hate. Try a job out through an internship to see if an industry is really suited to you.”  Benedict said the best way to get where you want to be is to know what your goal is and to work towards it. “Read newspaper articles and trade magazines. Speak to friends and family to get a bigger picture of what you really want.”

If you are one of the 1.3 million graduates who might be unsure of what to do post-university, give yourself the very best chance of securing a graduate job. Not only do internships help you clarify your chosen career path, they also give you an invaluable opportunity to network, the chance to build your communication and teamwork skills and confidence in the workplace. Inspiring Interns are the UK’s leading internship agency. Our internships are in a wide variety of sectors, including roles in up-and-coming mobile advertising and social networking marketing agencies. With an internship you have the very best chance to fulfill your potential.

For a full list of our roles including marketing graduate jobs, advertising graduate jobs and PR graduate jobs check out our London internships and graduate jobs page.