A few weeks back, we published our guide to enhancing your employability prospects whilst at uni, and within this article we cited ‘internships’ as the way to go.

Since then, we’ve had a lot of undergraduates and graduates alike asking us what to look for in an internship and where to look.

We’d thought it would be a good idea to pull our heads together and dedicate our next blog to this topic!

Try smaller companies

We get it; you’re young, ambitious, and are aiming for the stars – therefore you’re applying left right and centre to internship roles within huge, multi-billion pound, household name corporations likes Apple, Coca Cola, or Microsoft.

Whilst you may eventually strike lucky with an internship at one of these companies, we urge you to smaller alternative companies, as they hold the key to many future prospects that you can benefit from.

Even though you may not like it, it comes with the territory that you will be required to fulfil a few mundane tasks throughout the course of your internship – this is the same across the majority of internships (and jobs in general for that matter). However, you’re more likely to be given higher impact tasks at a small company, than a large one. Naturally, smaller companies will find you more useful, and will give you more responsibility – which will help you develop more of a company identity – enhancing the likelihood that your company will offer you a full-time position once your internship has expired. Or perhaps you desire to work for a larger company once your internship finishes? Citing your extra responsibility during your internship at your smaller company will only help your chances, whereas a more mundane intern role at a larger business may seem less remarkable to employer.

We admire your ambition to get an internship at a huge worldwide organisation, but sometimes the smart thing to do is to start small.

Recruitment agencies over job boards

We may be slightly biased, but we would recommend signing up to a recruitment agency over a job board every day of the week. Whilst job boards can be an important strategy for a lot of employers, when recruiting for internships, a recruitment agency is the best way to go for many reasons.

Firstly, it is not cost effective for an employer to publish internship positions on job boards. Without sounding too harsh, most employers find it difficult to justify the added cost to publish a smaller, less business-critical role. However, most employers will already have a rolling contract with a recruitment agency; therefore the agency will publish the internship role on their own website as soon as it becomes available.

Secondly, recruitment agency websites tend to be of higher quality and more specific to the industries that you want to work in, making it easier to find the internship that you’ve been looking for.

And lastly, you will have access to a more human connection. Signing up with a recruitment agency can be one of the fastest and most efficient ways of getting an internship, with recruitment consultants/experts fighting your corner for you, looking out for opportunities for you.

We really think that signing up to a recruitment agency is a no-brainer!

Omit local newspapers

Whilst we fully endorse the activity of local newspapers, we believe that their effectiveness for finding job opportunities for youngsters is diminishing.

It will cost employers a sizeable chunk of cash to advertise their internship roles in your local newspaper, with many employers questioning the logic behind doing so in the first place. It’s a well-known fact that the readership of newspapers has become less youthful – with many youngsters prefer reading the latest news on the BBC or Sky News website via their smartphones. Employers know this; therefore it would be highly unlikely that you will see them advertising their internship roles through this medium.

We strongly encourage you to focus your efforts elsewhere.

Use social media to your advantage

If company culture concerns you about a certain role, take to social media to give you an indication of the relevant company’s culture – you should be able to get an insight into the day-to-day activity of a company, you can then form an opinion if that is the kind of company you want to work for. If they have no social media presence, it’s unlikely that they want to publicise their company culture – which could mean that company culture might be a bit bland/uninteresting.

Employers will also be using these free channels to publicise their latest internships, especially as they know that under 25s are the most frequent users of social media – the prime age for interns.

Specially designated internship websites

Although we’d prefer not to name any (to avoid preferential treatment) there are a range of internships specific websites which host an array of opportunities on them. You should make the most of these by exploring their opportunities to the max – as they will certainly contain internship vacancies that you won’t be able to find anywhere else on the internet.

We hope you find these snippets of advice helpful. And remember, share this article with your friends if they’re looking for an internship!

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