How to find the right internship for you
There is continuous debate in the media about the merits of working as an intern. With one side highlighting that it is pure exploitation and the other side arguing that this is the only way to get work experience. There is some truth in both arguments.
In my view and from my experience, having worked in two very different internships, internships are for learning and gaining valuable experience. Both my internships were extremely different from the other. One was my dream job but I soon realised that there was no future for me in it in Ireland whilst the other internship I ended up working on menial tasks that I hated. However I wouldn’t change either for a second as the insight and experience I gained from both of them has stood to me in my career to date.
Steven Spielberg began his career as an intern at Universal Studios and is now one of the most recognisable names in the movie industry. During his internship he produced a short film that resulted in him becoming the youngest director ever to be signed with a major Hollywood studio.
Based on my experience it is important to try pick the right internship for you. It’s also just as important to make the most of the internship to really get value from it.
Here are my top tips to consider when looking for the right internship for you:
Value: what is the value to you?
Value is not just a pay cheque. It can be experience, building a network or access to an industry you would otherwise never get. Think about what you gain from any role that you undertake. You should also consider the insight you get from working in an industry or a job position that you are considering for your future career. It might not be the right industry for you or the right job. Isn’t it better to find it out now?
The role: does this role offer you the experience you want or need?
Don’t just take any internship for the sake of it. It should be one that you see your future career in or that you can learn from. Ask in advance what the objectives are, what type of work you will be doing and who you will be working with. This should give you some insight into what to expect of this internship.
However be prepared that you will have to do some menial tasks, every job has them. It’s about making the most of every task you are given.
Opportunity: what opportunities does it create for you?
Whether there’s a potential job or not at the end of the internship, there is always opportunity available. Working hard and showing your ability can lead to a job. In Ergo this is something that happens a lot. For example our Managed Services Engineer Damien Kelly started as an Ergo intern from Tallaght IT and is becoming a major force with us in Ergo.
However not all internships will end with a job offer. It’s still important to make sure you gain the company as a strong reference which can be priceless.
Experience: what will you talk about when being interviewed?
From an employer’s perspective it is always better to be working than not working. Even if this is just voluntary work for a charity or your local football club. When an interviewer meets you they are trying to learn about you - how you work, how you handle situations, how you fit culturally? If you have nothing to talk about or have no examples to discuss, how can we answer these questions?
Here in Ergo:
We have a proven track record in helping college and course leavers gain valuable work experience. Our managers will offer advice, guidance and give the right candidate the experience of working in a professional environment. More often than not the intern is given every opportunity to grow and develop into a full time staff member or will always come away more employable.
Just think our CEO started Ergo from a shed that had no running water selling print cartridges and has since turned it into a leading IT solutions company with more than 400 employees. He was also named Ireland's Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014.
A bit of hard work never hurt anyone as my Granddad used to say.