Do You Really Need To Do An Internship?

 We all know that the cost of tuition fees is on the up, and many more students are graduating from university with significant debts.  Despite the cost, a Bachelor’s degree and even a Master’s don’t guarantee you entry into a ‘graduate level’ job, and many students will fail to see any return on investment for those years of study.

With so many graduates chasing those elusive graduate roles, employers are having a difficult time deciding on one candidate over another.  That’s where internships come in.

While the simple answer is that nobody has to do an internship, those who do stand a much better chance of securing their first job in their chosen field.

Essential experience

 Internships give you a chance to gain practical, hands-on experience, and that’s something employers prize extremely highly in this day and age.  While your degree will equip you with a lot of technical know-how and an understanding of your subject, nothing really beats a chance to learn on the job and see how that book learning can be applied in the ‘real’ world of work.

As more students attend university, employers often struggle to spot the talent between equally glowing CVs.  Proving you have some real experience demonstrates your commitment to you career and proves you’re serious about wanting to work for them.

A foot in the door

 While there’s no guarantee of a job at the end, taking an internship with a company can open a lot of doors for you.  Many large employers operate internship and graduate schemes which help them attract the best candidates and nurture their talent in-house.

Pick the right graduate scheme or internship and you could find yourself being fast-tracked into a more senior position than if you had joined at entry level and had to work your way up slowly.

Find out if this is the job for you

 Another advantage to taking an internship is finding out what you don’t want to do as much as finding out what you do enjoy.  Sometimes you can approach your career with rose-tinted spectacles and the reality of the job doesn’t live up to those high expectations.

An internship can be a valuable period of reflection, giving you the time to examine whether this really is the career for you before you’ve accepted a job and made a commitment.

Build up your contacts

Internships are a great way to build up a contact base which can help you further down the line.  This is an opportunity for learning and networking, so make friends with a few people and the effort will pay off.

While there might not be a position going with this particular company, remember that people tend to switch jobs more frequently these days and the contacts you make now might reappear elsewhere in a couple of years’ time.  Win a few friends and they might be able to put in a good word for you, and where your reputation precedes, job offers are more likely to follow.

The upshot is that while nobody is obliged to take an internship, doing so can stand you in much better stead when it comes to competing for your first graduate level job.  Internships can be a fantastic opportunity to gain that highly prized work experience and showcase your talents to future employers, so find the right internship for you and you could give your career that early boost it needs.


Lizzie Exton writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.