Internships – a ‘first stage of recruitment’

I got a new job

If the term ‘internship’ makes you think of tea-making and picking up the boss’s dry cleaning then think again – internships are now being hailed by the BBC as almost a ‘guaranteed rite of passage’ in the ever-competitive job market.

2009 saw record numbers of university leavers and new figures show more than 660,000 people have applied for a university place for the next academic year.  This staggering amount is up by 12 per cent from last year, once again breaking the record for the number of university applicants.  With these figures on the rise, the coalition government have made an extra 10,000 university places to support the hefty amount of applications, meaning more students than ever will be graduating with degrees in the coming years.  It is becoming even harder for employers to recruit graduates when they simply cannot distinguish who is more qualified for the job – how does one chose between the graduate with the 2:1 History degree from Durham or the 2:1 English Literature graduate from Bristol?

The answer, I hear you cry, is internships.  These are becoming the latest box that graduates need to tick in order for them to increase their employability and stand out from the other hundreds of applicants after the same job.  According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 21.7% of graduates in full employment within six months of graduating were taken on by employees who had previously provided them with some form of work experience.  It would appear that employers are less willing to gamble on a new recruit who may look fantastic on paper, instead choosing to take on someone who has already experienced working at the company and who therefore has a “basic grasp of workplace dynamics”, according to a BBC article.  In other words, the internship has become an ‘extended interview’ whereby the intern has a chance to showcase their abilities and see if they fit into the company lifestyle.

One could even go as far as saying personalities are coming back into fashion as far as job placements go – seemingly, it’s no longer just about the prestigious university and impressive degree result; employers are interested in who they are recruiting rather than trusting the CV alone.

So where does this leave graduates? With competition for entry-level jobs as tough as it has ever been there is no room to rest on your laurels. A good degree is not enough to take you onto the career ladder: experience, contacts and demonstrable skills are your key to a first job. An internship will give you all three. So the message is clear: don’t get left behind – call us, email us, tweet us, facebook us, send us a pigeon or do anything to get in touch so that you can do an internship and realise your potential.

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