The purpose and goal of an internship
Internships while in school or university help give you direction for your career and allow you to become familiar with different fields of work. They also allow employers to get to know potential employees early on under real working conditions. The intern benefits from this added value and the company invests time and money, which is why the compensation is usually low. The more knowledge and experience an intern has to offer, the sooner he can add economic value to the company through his performance and expect remuneration. However, learning and acquiring contacts are the main priorities.
What you shouldn’t expect from an internship
An intern’s job is not to perform at the level of a trained employee. Companies that fill regular positions with interns on an ongoing basis in order to save costs put their sector, and internships in general, in a bad light.
Such companies tend to focus on graduates with a university degree or professional training, since they have some real knowledge and may be attracted by the opportunity to acquire professional experience or a subsequent job. If a company gives you this impression, you should beware. As a candidate for an internship, you need to clearly define the objectives of the internship.
When an internship after university does not make sense
Some graduates decide to do an internship because they feel they lack other alternatives. This only makes sense to some degree. You should think again carefully about your decision if the following apply to you:
- You are seeking professional orientation after university
Initial orientation should have been obtained before and during university. If you now feel as though you lack direction, explore what you want and, if necessary, get specialized advice from experts, coaches or personnel service providers. It may be that external circumstances are causing you to stray from your previously planned career path. If you would like to embark on a phase of self-discovery in order to find a new direction, we would be happy to advise you.
- You are pursuing an internship because you have feelings of insecurity and self-doubt
Now that you’ve obtained your degree, you are perfectly ready to start working. If you don’t have any solid reason for pursuing just an internship, you may be selling yourself short. In the worst case you will marginalize yourself and indirectly contribute to lowering the salaries in your sector.
An internship should not be a substitute for a steady job. You will even decrease your chances of finding a job if you do more than two internships after finishing university. Take a good and honest look at your motives. We would also be happy to advise you on this.
When an internship after university does makes sense
There are many cases in which an internship after university can bring considerable added value:
- No time during your studies
Did you lack the time for an internship due to personal reasons such as starting a family, caring for relatives, or an illness? Did you have a go at self-employment or work in your family’s business while you were studying? These are good reasons to do an internship afterward.
- Radical change in your career path while studying
If you have decided to depart from your previous career path based on your personal experiences or due to radical changes in the job market, an internship can help you get direction. Examine your motives very closely if this is the case.
- You would like to make a lateral career move
A similar situation is when you want to make a lateral career move. Are you and your potential employer unable to assess in advance whether a change to a different activity would work? A brief internship can be beneficial for both sides, especially at smaller companies.
- You can no longer use your former network
This can also happen for many reasons. You no longer have your foot in the door and you want to change that. If no other options are open to you via the regular application process, you can use an internship to quickly build up a new network of contacts.
- You are seeking direction for your master’s
Have you completed a bachelor’s degree and don’t know which subject to pursue for your master’s? You have a choice to learn more as an intern or as an employee. To fill a short-term gap or clarify minor questions, an internship might be a suitable option.
An internship after university is almost always a personal decision
Experts usually advise against doing an internship after finishing university, since graduates are generally ready to start working. Internships can even have a negative impact on your resume. But in certain cases, you might consider making an exception. These are usually very individual, personal situations. Find out where you stand realistically and think it over thoroughly before you make a decision.