Guest post by Laura Bill
Are you nearing the end of your university degree and unsure of your next steps? An internship could be the next stage in your professional journey. Finding a job in the real world can be a struggle – especially without the relevant experience when finishing your studies and you may be worried about finding employment after graduation.
An internship is of real benefit to recent graduates as allows you to secure the experience you require to start your professional career, as well as helping you gain an insight into the field of work that most interests you. While you may not know much about the industry, the good news is that you’ll be surrounded by those who, which is a great way to learn and gain some hands-on experience that could not be achieved elsewhere.
Most UK internships are London-based and as you may expect, the competition is fierce. In this blog post, we’re going to look at some of the key tips to bear in mind on how to land a paid internship in London this year:
Research, research, research
Finding an internship in London can be tricky, especially one that meets your career prospects. You can search independently by browsing job search websites or even sign up to a graduate recruitment agency.
Your university or college career services should also be able to provide information on where to find vacancies and even have their own contacts and networks which they could put you in touch with. As soon as you spot an internship that ticks all of the boxes, apply immediately. London-based employers are likely to be bombarded with applications from graduates across the world and are likely to stop reading through applications at a certain point, so don’t hesitate.
If you haven’t managed to find an internship advertisement within your niche, you could go the extra mile by contacting employers about internship opportunities within the London region. It can be difficult to sell yourself within one email but sending over your resume and explaining how you could be a valuable asset to the company may just stir intrigue to consider you as a potential intern. With that said, don’t go for the hard sell. Remain calm, collected and polite, while weaving in key reasons as to why they should consider inviting you into their team.
Go to jobs fairs
Keep your eyes peeled for job fairs that arise both in your local area and London. This is a great way to network with professionals in all different fields and register your interest in securing a job in London. By making connections with employers and hiring managers, you are giving yourself exposure and potentially opening the door to new opportunities that you may never have known about previously. If you are not a fit for what they are looking for currently, ask for their business card so that you can stay in touch if an internship opportunity did arise.
If you discover that most available internships do require you to have some form of relevant experience, it may be worth taking on some volunteer work temporarily to improve your skillset and bring some additional content to your CV.
As London-based internships are highly competitive – especially when working at an NGO, for an artist or a small semi-professional project; employers will be on the lookout for candidates with the most to offer, which is where volunteering for a charitable organisation could place you in the selected few asked to interview. Volunteering equips you with hands-on experience and can also give the impression that you are considerate, positive and motivated due to your decision to offer your time for a worthy cause.
Social media has become one of the most beneficial ways of seeking new career opportunities. Many companies now list new jobs across their platforms as opposed to job boards – so always keep your eyes peeled. Keep tabs on your favourite companies and check their profiles weekly so that you don’t miss any new listings. You could also use social media to express your interest in seeking an internship in the London area in the hope that your contacts steer you in the right direction of an available position.
Prepare for your internship interview
Once you have applied for various internship roles, it would be a good idea to start preparing for potential interviews. Many candidates leave it until the last minute and run out of time to prepare, which will of course, always end in disaster. Stay ahead of the game by researching each company you apply for and the most common interview questions you are likely to be asked. Once you have come up with a set list of questions and answers, carry out some role play with your friends and family. This will not only polish up your performance before the big day, but may even help to reduce those nerves.
Securing a London-based internship is no easy task, but the above tips should give you some insight into how to improve your chances of being spotted by UK employers and recruitment agencies. Good luck!