How to stand out from a sea of other interns
By Monica Karpinski
It’s no secret how competitive the job market is these days. We’ve all read the scary headlines and scrolled through endless job adverts, all the while working ourselves up into a frenzy. “What’s going to make me stand out to an employer,” we ask ourselves, “when everyone has already done everything else?”
But don’t let the naysay brigade discourage you; there is always a way you’ll be able to impress an employer. You’ll just have to be creative about it.
Internships are an increasingly popular avenue to higher-level, permanent positions in competitive fields. With more and more interns on the scene, you’ll have to work a bit harder to make yourself stand out. Learning additional skills not necessarily related to your field can help you do just that.
As well as allowing you to pick up new know-how, additional skills and knowledge on your CV make you seem interesting. They will demonstrate that you are driven, dynamic and that in your spare time you don’t just sit around and rest on your laurels. You’re a go-getter, with keen interests who’s ready to proverbially take the bull by the horns.
Fortunately, learning something new has never been easier for Brits on the cusp of their careers. For example, Hotcourses’ Cash for a Course Awards allows five prospective learners to complete a course of their choice in one of five broad subject areas: arts and craft, technology and business, languages, cookery, and sports and fitness.
Did you study French or Spanish in your GCSEs? A UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) found that 17% of employers were unable to fill vacancies due to a shortage of candidates with languages skills. Why not pick it up and plonk it on your CV? (Incidentally, you can check out Hot Courses’ French courses here!)
It’s good news for those not looking to learn something so serious, too. Another recent survey by the National Careers Service named 23% of employers’ vacancies hard to fill based on a lack of skills, qualifications or experience. Got your eye on a publishing internship? You might be a whiz with words but if you aren’t digitally minded then you’ll shine out less next to someone who does. Taking a short course in technology or social media will show you’ve made an effort to fix that, and that now, you’re up to scratch. In the same vein, your novelty cupcake decorating class will expose your creativity and interest in foodie culture. Your employer feels like he knows you a little better already.
Whether you’re in it for the long haul and ready to pick up a second language, or just want to learn how to decorate a lampshade, each and every skill you acquire will broaden your perspective and add something to the way you think. And that will only ever work in your favour.
Editor’s note: If you’re looking for a course in London to improve your employability, check out our new all-encompassing guide: http://www.inspiringinterns.com/interns/london/guide/
Monica is a London-based writer and digital content producer for Hotcourses. A keen art and culture fanatic, you can follow Monica on Twitter, add her on LinkedIn or connect with her on Google+.