Monthly Archives: October 2012

Yes! Interning Will Help You Get A Job

So you have done an internship, do you think they will offer you a job? Well I think interning will definitely up your chances of getting a job after you have finished university.

Source: Creative Commons

Studies show that 60% of people who did a paid internship in 2012 ended up scoring jobs after they graduated. This is a promising statistics and shows that interning is definitely the way to go to gain work experience and boost your C.V.

Make Sure it Pays Off

But how do you make sure your intern will pay off in the long run? Well blogger Jeremy Porters says there are a few important steps you must take after your internship to make sure you will score a good job. One thing I agree with is that it is important to keep in contact afterwards with the company you interned for.

Staying in touch is a great way to build contacts and keep them. If you ever need something from that company or if you ever need a good recommendation then you will have that person to contact every time. Another important step is saying thank you to that company. This lets them know that you have appreciated your experience interning there and have enjoyed your time.

Big Bad World

It’s scary leaving university and having to go out into the big wide world of full time work. But Interning will definitely open up many doors for you and you can also use your experience to show companies what work you have done. One blogger wrote about how his internship for sports writing helped him get his foot in the door with a breaking news team and he is now working as the Assignment Editor. He says his internship experience was a huge advantage because he was able to show work he had actually published.

Employers also hunt for people who have done internships because they know these people have real-life experience into that area of work. A marketing employer also says having internships give employers the chance to test drive potential future employees and train new graduates from scratch.

Graduate Programmes

There are also graduate programmes which are like the big brother of internships and are another great way to gain experience and get the job. Grad programmes give recent grads the opportunity to work for their company and try out all areas of that company. I think this is a great way to gain experience and you get paid for it too! An example is the ANZ graduate programme they give a few grads the opportunity to work in every aspect of the bank for a whole year and then these graduates go into a full time position. These grad programmes also look for past work experience so doing an internship while you’re studying will definitely help!

I am finishing my communications degree in just under 2 weeks and the thought of having to find a job is pretty scary! But because I’ve done an internship I have good work experience and it will definitely help me when I start applying for jobs an Going for interviews.

So don’t be too afraid about going into the big bad world, be excited and know that your internship experience will definitely help you get the job you want!

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I’m An Intern, Not Your Coffee Maker!

As an intern, you start off at the bottom of the ring and are often given mundane tasks such as fetching coffees, photocopying and running errands for others.

Source: Pania Vizor

But I don’t think these are the types of tasks interns should being doing and surely not the perceptions we want future generations to have of what interning is.

Definition of Internship

I found a good definition of what an internship is being “Providing real world experience to those looking to explore or gain the relevant knowledge and skills required to enter into a particular career field.” But the underlying culture and stereotype of an intern tends to be the one who does all the jobs no one else wants to do. Even a University in America  posted on their website saying “At some internship’s you become close friends with the copier and coffee machine.”

Now is this the type of message we want to get across to young students seeking internships? I don’t think so and I believe this stereotype of what an intern is must change!

Lies, Damned Lies and Internships

I recently read a chapter from Heather Huhman’s book called ‘Lies, Damned Lies and Internships’. It really hit home with what I am trying to get across. Heather talks about how the perceptions of internships need to change and if you find yourself making coffees and photocopies at your internship, you need to change this.

Heather says an internship should be no different from any other business position. I highly agree, if companies hire interns they should be doing it on the basis of gaining ‘fresh’ ideas from students and hearing their contributions. They shouldn’t want to hire interns so they can have more hands to help with photocopying and running little errands. So we should take this on board, we know we aren’t going to be an executive anytime soon because we are the ‘new  kid’ but we can still contribute our ideas and make an impact.

A blogger was successful in doing this and recently wrote about her experience of how she was not going to be the ‘coffee maker’ at her internship and she set herself goals to make an impression. She made a project proposal and pitched her ideas to the company. It paid off and she was taken seriously, and is not just known as another intern and can definitely score a good reference out of that company for future jobs.

People are actually promoting this ‘Coffee’ perception

I recently watched a video blog post called ‘Fetching Coffee and Other Intern Duties’ this post really shocked me and I strongly go against what he is advising interns to do. Firstly he talks about making coffee as being part of the intern game and a task we must do. I don’t think we should be made to make coffee and I definitely don’t think we should be telling future interns that it’s “All part of the game.”

He also talks about what interns should be willing and unwilling to do as an intern. He says you have to do everything and anything. “Sweep the floors, turn on the lights, turn off lights, get the coffee, do this, do that.” No we shouldn’t have to do these things. We should be doing tasks that are related to our studies such as gaining experience about that industry and working alongside industry professionals.

It’s Time to Stand Up

Now don’t get me wrong, in our internship we should give 100% effort and we do learn from any experience. But the idea of what an ‘intern’ does on the job needs to change and not only can company’s change this perception but also interns can change it by being strong, standing up and saying “No, if you want a coffee, go and get it yourself.”

 

 

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Pick me- I’ll work for free

Unpaid internships are definitely not worth our time!

Source: Creative Commons- Tearing Money

It is often drilled into university students “Get an internship and you will have a better chance of getting a job.” There is also mass debate over whether paid or unpaid internships are better.

But what is often left out of this debate is the fact that many of us have no choice but to take on unpaid internships.  We have no choice in the matter and many people are realising that paid opportunities simply aren’t going to come their way.

So is taking on an unpaid internship really worth all the hours of free work you are giving that company? Well myself and many others don’t think so and see unpaid internships as an unfair way of companies gaining ‘free work’ out of entry level beginners like many of us are.

I read an article recently about how deregulated the term ‘intern’ is in New Zealand. Interns are not defined under New Zealand’s Employment Relations Act (ERA), so regulation of how they are treated all depends on whether an intern fits under the definition of what an employee is.

Definiton of Employee

So what is the definition of an employee in New Zealand? Well under the ERA, an employee is someone who is employed to do any work for hire or reward under a contract of service. This definition includes, full-time, part-time and even casual workers but does not include anything to do with unpaid internships AKA volunteer work. So if someone, such as an intern, is not defined as an employee then that means the protections and rights covered in legislation do not apply to them and the only protection they have is the agreement they make with the company they are interning at.

Exploitation

Now what about unpaid internships? There is no contract because there is no pay so we really don’t have much protection if anything was to go wrong. A main word that comes to mind is exploitation. Exploitation of young, inexperienced students who are vulnerable to companies that can take advantage of them.  The New York Times recently posted a debate up about whether unpaid internships exploit students and many people agreed they do.

A recent study done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers also found that 60% of students who did a paid internship in 2012 ended up getting at least one job offer when they graduated. But only 37% of people who did an unpaid internship ended up getting job offers and that’s only slightly better than the 36% from students who did no internships. So this shows how the effort of unpaid internships doesn’t pay off as much as paid internships.

Now don’t get me wrong, gaining experience is extremely important to get that edge over others when it comes to looking for jobs but as statistics has shown, not many people benefit greatly from unpaid internships.

“It’s Because of the Recession”

A main excuse by many companies is the fact that we have just come out of a recession and cannot afford to pay interns. Blog writer Stephen Colbert put it nicely, saying internships these days are being justified because of the recession. Because companies know graduates are desperate for work they are using this as an excuse to get helping hands for free.

So if you are looking for an internships- research, investigate and think…will this internship benefit me? Especially if you are willing to do it for free.

How to make the best of an unpaid internship:

1).  Check if your university has any scholarships available, that way you can intern for free but be getting money through your university.

2). Set guidelines for this free work before you start.  Ask to intern only a few days a week or even just one day, that way you can keep a paid job on the side.

3).  Check if the company you’re interning for reimburses interns for travel. Sometimes companies are willing to pay for your transport to the office or for the extra hours you put in.

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