Should they meet certain requirements, university graduates have an opportunity to search for their first job but they can also undertake a work-related internship at a company or organization. For recent graduates, internships can kick off a professional career, allowing young people to adapt to the responsibilities of the position, while they give companies the chance to be able to train inexperienced people to incorporate them into their teams after the internship period.
Round out your professional profile with experience across different sectors and learn combine learning from all of them to be able to secure a job of responsibility. Having completed an internship may be a strength for future selection processes at other companies.
What are internships?
Internships are a type of work experience for people with little experience, and for a set period of time, provide employees with the training necessary to give them the skills and abilities necessary to develop as professionals for future employment.
The internships are linked to the university education or vocational training received by the employee. The tasks to be carried out are related to their studies, and interns are mentored by an employee of the company, who takes on the responsibility to help guide and solve any problems that employees may find while at the company.
Differences: internship contracts and internship agreements
The concept of practical internships often leads to confusion and it is necessary to correctly define it:
· Internship Agreement: Undertaken with the University Business School and other schools as a complement to the university or vocational training of those interested. They may or may not be included in the curriculum of the degree (as either curricular or extracurricular internships), but students are required to be enrolled at the institution to formalize an agreement. It is a three-party agreement between the university, the company and the student.
· Internship Contract: Only recent graduates have access to this type of contract, and the company requires a certificate verifying the intern’s completed education and training. It is not included in the curriculum of any qualification so it is not necessary to be studying. This type of contract allows the possibility of working full time without problems as there is no requirement to fit in classes around work.
When you start a new job or internship, you need to mentally prepare yourself and be ready for all the new experiences and situations that await you. Without having experience everything can seem much more difficult, but you should always remember that everyone has gone through this before and you have to get involved as much as possible to standout, learn and become a true professional.
· Clarity: Avoid tasks or missions that are not clear to you. Define your target with your boss or mentor, maintain a very good relationship with him/her and ask questions, offer up ideas, simplify your work so that the results are what they expect from you.
· Good impression:
Look around and follow their lead. From day one, you must be another company employee: pay attention to their timeliness, work methodologies, stand-out skills and clothes they wear, and mix in with them. You must make a difference with your job but not with your appearance.
· List of skills: A true professional never stops studying, training and learning. Think about your internship as though you were going to class: make a list of the skills you are going to need to develop your tasks: continue to study languages and read about these issues to gain confidence in your role.
· In-depth knowledge of the industry: You have in your hand all the information that working at a company or within a sector provides you. Learn everything you can, because it will be part of your expertise and will serve you in the future.
From an internship to your first job
These types of professional experiences are the key to accessing the labour market and directing your career. Many companies hire young trainees so that after the training stage, they can get them involved in the company and count them as another employee in their workforce, increasing their responsibilities.
To get through this internship period and have access to a position of greater responsibility, you have to keep in mind that what they value most is your level of commitment.
· Added value: Try to be as interested as possible about any task assigned to you, and carry out your work with extra motivation to show your team and your managers that they can count on you.
· Initiative: Do not just settle for the work assigned to you, show interest in improving the company and contribute with your ideas and proposals. These may not always be taken on, but it will highlight your knowledge and attitude, improving your chances of being assigned new projects.
· Collaboration and coordination with your team: Teamwork is one of the most sought after skill by recruiters. It is important to demonstrate that you have solid points to make when you propose an idea or present your work, as much as it is to show others that you know how to listen. Interact with your work colleagues to learn from them and to understand the way in which you can help them, even at times of great tension.
After the internship
Internships often come to an end, either because of a decision made by the company or the graduate. When the internship is over, take away everything you have learned and do not forget:
· Letter of recommendation: You can ask your managers for a letter of recommendation THAT highlights your strengths and explains the tasks you undertook. This will help serve to gain future employment.
Maintain relationships with the professionals you have worked alongside during your internship. It is very important to create a network of contacts so that you can access them in the future. They can also be your gateway into the labour market.
· Review and synthesize what you have learned: Try to summarize all the knowledge, skills and competences you have acquired in your CV. This is so that when you are again part of a selection process you can compare these with what the new role is requesting and in turn you will be able to demonstrate your experience and suitability for this new role.