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Internships: The Pros and Cons

26 February 2019
Zara Woodcock
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Internships are an integrated part of our academic and office culture. It has always been mentioned how internships are a necessary to get a job. Is it true?

Most people have already gone through internship after internship, hoping each addition to their CV will impress future employers. And if some haven’t, they will usually start seeking one.

There has been endless discussions on whether the amount of work internships make you do is worth the little to no financial compensation in the end, so it is easier to list the pros and cons on the matter and let you decide. 

Benefits of Internships

Many post-graduate courses and employers require candidates to have work experience, and what better way to gain work experience than through an internship? The main benefits you get from internships is the slightly higher chances of getting hired for a full-time position.

The experiences of an internship gives your prospective employer many positive signals :

  • It shows other organisations were willing to employ you, which means you have many good things to bring to the table
  • It is clear evidence of your dedication in pursuing your career objective
  • It shows that you already know many key things about the role you are applying for
  • It can also make you a little more qualified than some ‘entry-level’ candidates

Furthermore, the gruelling efforts put into an internship can lead to a permanent position at the organisation you are interning at. It can be difficult, but if you showcase your skills, knowledge, and determination, the employers will notice how well you suit the company.

If you do not get hired for a permanent position, that’s okay too. At least you have gained a CV-builder and real world experience that you can apply to future positions. Internships can also be a great time to understand whether the job you have chosen is the right career path for you. If it’s not, it’s better that you realised sooner than later.

As an intern, you will have the opportunity to work with a variety of professionals whether in different departments or different companies. The people you meet can turn into useful contacts who will point you in the direction of more contacts for a prospective job.

All in all, internships are a good way to increase chances of new or better jobs. If not, then at least the contacts you have gained and the skills you have learned will help you in other ways.

 

Drawbacks of Internships

The argument on the usefulness of internships have been around for a while for many reasons, with the main issue being the little to no pay.

A lot of internships will see interns working full time for a set amount of time (i.e. 2 months). Full-time work paired with little pay makes the notion of applying for work experience disconcerting.

There are no requirements for companies to pay university students any money when work placements are a part of the course. Otherwise, interns are entitled to the National Minimum Wage, according to Gov.uk. The amount you can earn depends on the role you are filling and the field you enter. For example, Law Interns may earn a bit more than Editorial Interns. Unfortunately some recruiters may only offer to pay for the cost of travel and daily lunches as their form of payments.

A problem that comes with no set requirements on paying interns is the simple fact that many people with a lower socioeconomic status may not be able to afford work placements that don’t pay. Those with less student debt and more money will have an advantage when gaining work experience.

As an intern, you may not be viewed as an employee of the company by the employer and other team members. This results in limited rights during your time there. This includes:

  • Unrealistic amount of work
  • Being ignored or patronised
  • Not being advised/helped when you need it
  • Late payments (or no payments at all)

Lastly, there is no guarantee employers will hire you for a permanent position. It may be frustrating, but the employer may not think you fit the role, are unimpressed, or are simply not looking to hire.

Whether you agree with internships or not, experience will help in your job search immensely.

Have a look at what placements we have available on our website.