“Apart from some fantastic experiences and a lot of valuable knowledge and skills gained, these internships have helped to give me a clearer understanding of what I want to do in the future (and what I don’t)”

As published by Martha Christie in her blog:

For any final-year student, the prospect of finding a graduate job and taking the first step onto your career path is daunting. I certainly have dedicated a great deal of my time in the last few months, the past year even, trawling through job boards, Linkedin adverts, twitter feeds and careers pages.

Although I am in a fortunate position that I do not have too much student loan hanging over my head, after four years of hard work I certainly want to find a good job. I have always been a very driven and ambitious person and although I hope never to be the type of person who says ‘work is my life’, I do want to succeed and to find a job which is both meaningful and enjoyable to me.

As a History student, I have been aware for a while that it will be more challenging for me to find a graduate job. There are very few graduate schemes desperate for Arts graduates, unlike my Software Engineering flatmate who, along with most of his course-mates, already had a job secured after their graduation.

However, I am not disheartened by this lack of easy-options for Arts graduates, as my Dad has always said to me, there are hundreds of jobs you have never even heard of and in five years’ time there will be even more that don’t exist yet. Furthermore, there is something wonderful about not knowing where you might end up and what you might end up doing, the world is your oyster, you might say! History students have a multitude of skills that lend themselves to a number of jobs.

Personally, I am hoping to work in the third sector or for a University. I would love to be involved in fundraising or marketing in some form. In the past year I have undertaken a number of internships in an attempt to start to put this plan in motion. Apart from some fantastic experiences and a lot of valuable knowledge and skills gained, these internships have helped to give me a clearer understanding of what I want to do in the future (and what I don’t).

If you are a student reading this post I would definitely recommend getting some work experience and an internship is a great way of doing this. Be careful about internships though and make sure you know your rights. There are a lot of discussions going on at the moment about unpaid internships – have a look at Intern Aware who are campaigning to end unpaid internships.

My first internship last year was arranged through a fantastic organisation called Third Sector Internships who work with organisations across Scotland to create opportunities for Scottish students. They are a really great team of people who not only advertise the internships, but also offer continued support and guidance throughout the internship as well as training days and advice afterwards.

I am also currently undertaking an internship working in Glasgow University’s Development and Alumni Office. I am carrying out research for the fundraising and alumni staff and I have had an enormous amount of support and training in this role. I found this position through the University’s Club 21 internship programme which again has been amazing.

Sheena McBeth who manages this programme is extremely helpful and efficient, and I have heard only good things from others about their experiences with Club 21. Another benefit of this scheme is that your internship is recorded on your university transcript when you graduate so it is definitely worth doing!

When looking for work experience as a student, it’s also worth asking around about jobs – some companies won’t advertise this type of work so if you know where you want to work then get in touch. I also found further work when my first internship was coming to an end by telling my manager that I was looking for another job. From this I was given a second internship with the charity’s London team and a short internship at a marketing company owned by one of the charity’s board members.

These experiences have made me a lot more confident about finding a job when I graduate, and have also made me understand that it is important to think about what your aims are and what you really want to do.

Have you undertaken an internship recently? Share your experience with us. Comment below or tweet us @NCUBtweets.

Blogs that may interest you:

How do you know if you’re offered a high quality work placement?

Getting crafty about employability

Graduate Employment: UK students still lack emotional intelligence

What do businesses mean by ‘work-ready’ grads?

Employable graduates depend on more than just an expansion of the university system