Don’t limit your internship options by only focusing on larger graduate employers. If you’re looking for an internship experience that allows you to see the effect of your efforts quickly you should consider looking for opportunities with small and medium-sized businesses, typically organisations with fewer than 250 employees.
Small, high potential businesses can offer you wide-ranging opportunities to put your talents to good use and are a great source of graduate employment. They also tend to be less oversubscribed than big, high-profile graduate recruiters. You may well find that these types of internships can give you a good head start in the race for a graduate job.
Why choose a smaller internship intake?
- In a smaller organisation, you can make a bigger impact. Processes in smaller companies tend to be shorter and more visible, so you can see the effect of your work relatively quickly.
- The work you do will impress graduate recruiters. Many placements with smaller companies are project based. This means that you can take ownership of a task and see it through to the end – something that will impress recruiters when it comes to graduate job applications. You will be closely involved in the employer’s whole business process and gain a real insight into how they operate.
- Early responsibility. If you have the chance to take ownership of a task and see it through, your initiative will be tested and you’ll be able to develop your leadership, team work, time management and organisational skills.
- Your contribution will be highly valued. In a smaller organisation a spare pair of hands can undertake tasks no-one else has time for. Interns often provide a valuable resource to employers who are busy working hard on the core business and don’t have the time to look at issues such as competitor analysis, marketing or market research. An intern can dedicate their time to one of these areas and offer enterprising ideas to improve the business.
- Your placement can be tailored to suit you. Work experience at a small organisation is unlikely to follow a standard, predetermined schedule and it should be possible to give you opportunities that reflect your interests.
- Do well, and there’s a good chance you’ll be asked back. A high proportion of small employers may be able to offer students further work after their placement, from additional one-off projects to full-time employment when they graduate.
- If you’re a budding entrepreneur you should see a small organisation in action. If you’re interested in starting your own business in future, a placement is an excellent way to gain insight into how a small to medium-sized business is run. You may even have the opportunity to work with the company’s founder and find out first-hand how the business was set up.
- Think local. Whereas many work experience schemes and internships with large graduate employers are likely to be based in larger cities, small businesses can be found in locations across the country. Why not start building up your network of local contacts now?
- Companies with fewer than 250 employees may be more likely to offer opportunities to focus on particularly niche areas.
How to apply for work experience with small companies
You can research opportunities for internships with small and medium-size companies via gradireland and your university careers service. If a company that interests you hasn’t formally advertised a work experience opportunity, make a speculative application.
Your university or employment service may advertise vacation work with local companies. This will give you a chance to gain some practical evidence of your skills and develop your understanding of how businesses work.
Or if you think a larger graduate employer is a better fit read our blog “How to land an internship with a large graduate employer”
On the 27th of April, gradireland will host its annual Graduate Recruitment Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House and the following companies are nominated for the Best internship programme less than 50 intake:
- Abbott Ireland
- Arthur Cox
- First Derivatives PLC
- William Fry
A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk
Having your CV and LinkedIn profile matching up, and displaying your skills and experience in the best possible fashion, is one sure way of standing out to recruiters. HR teams use the social media platform on a daily basis, so make sure your profile is an all-star, helping you stand out from the crowd. These five steps can help you on your way.
1: What employers do you want to see your profile?
If you’re looking for a job in engineering, for example, you’ll need to research other profiles in the engineering field. Have a look at some successful people working in the area that you want to get into, see how they’ve highlighted their skills, knowledge and experience. You may not have the experience they have yet obviously, but you can work in key phrases, keywords and terms that the industry use, which will help your profile show up on search results. It is vital that you tailor your LinkedIn profile for the industry in which you want to work, the same way you need to tailor your CV for a particular job you’re applying for.
2: Write accurately and professionally
The same way a poorly written CV or cover letter ends up in the discard pile; a recruiter is not going to dwell on a poorly written LinkedIn page. They will be checking to see that your profile makes sense, that it uses proper grammar and punctuation (no emoticons or text speak!!).Make sure there are no unexplainable gaps in your work history or education. Again, research what others have in their profiles; make sure you include some keywords or phrases similar to those used in the job description you are applying for. Also, get a pair of fresh eyes to review it. It’s very hard to spot your own mistakes all the time, so get a trusted friend or family member (with a good eye for grammar) to check it over for you. In addition to grammar, focus on detail in terms of what you can offer. Again, taking engineering as an example, focus on technical capabilities, software knowledge, courses, certifications or other industry-relevant experience.
3: Get recommendations
Recruiters place value in well written recommendations below your profile as opposed to easily-clickable endorsements. If you don’t have enough employment experience for a reference or recommendation, perhaps your manager or senior colleague from an internship of work placement can help. If it can be from someone in your industry of choice even better! Also, be visual, if you have video clips or pdfs of projects that you’ve worked on; share them on your profile.
4: Connect and be professionally social
While the CEO of a major international firm is unlikely to connect with you straight away, other professionals in your chosen sector likely will, as will college alumni and department heads relevant to the sector in which you want to work. It’s best not to solicit connections randomly or anonymously, you’ll likely meet potential connections at careers fairs or other events so its better you introduce yourself before you try to connect. Also, there is an etiquette here, don’t try and connect with someone who you may be going for an interview with or who you have just had an interview with, it’s too over-familiar and could affect your application.
5: Use a professional photo
Sounds simple doesn’t it? But you would be surprised. You know that photo of you balancing the three beer cans on your head on the beach in Thailand? Don’t use that one! You don’t have to be in a business suit, but a full three quarter length photo in smart clothes shows you’re work-ready and aware of appearing professional.
My name is Róisín. I am a Graduate Process Improvement Executive at ARI (Aer Rianta International), part of the daa group. I studied Global Business and Spanish at DCU. As part of the course I spent two years studying and working in Spain and carried out two internships during the four years. I am passionate about working in a global, dynamic and innovative environment so I knew ARI would be the right match for me.
AER RIANTA INTERNATIONAL
ARI is a subsidiary of the daa. Over the years ARI has grown from strength to strength and is currently one of the most significant players in the travel retail industry. ARI operates and manages duty free and duty paid retail stores in 14 locations around the world from Canada to India all the way to New Zealand. ARI is best known in Ireland for The Loop in Dublin and Cork airports.
Innovation lies at the heart of ARI and staying ahead of the trend is priority. ARI has won a number of prestigious awards including Retailer of the Year and Best Speciality Concept for Candy Cloud and the Irish Whiskey Collection.
As a graduate, this is a very exciting time to work with ARI as it expands its global footprint opening new retail stores in Abu Dhabi, Indonesia and Muscat over the next two years.
Travel retail is a great area for newly qualified graduates, it’s fast paced, competitive, global and innovative. No two days in the airport or the retail industry are the same and the travel retail industry is certainly no different!
My role as a Graduate Process Improvement Executive at ARI involves working on all aspects of a strategic business transformation programme which aims to achieve best in class retailing and a common approach across our many different locations and cultures.
From day one at ARI I have had the opportunity to get to work on an array of exciting global projects that will benefit the entire company. For example, this year I have been working on creating, implementing and rolling out globally, an internal interactive video hosting platform where ARI employees from across the globe can watch, learn and interact with training content on-the-go to enhance their product knowledge. Projects and innovative initiatives like this allow ARI to ‘create an outstanding shopping experience every time’.
Many ARI graduates have had the opportunity to travel to, and work across ARI’s global locations such as Canada, Bahrain and New Zealand. I myself have had the wonderful opportunity this May to travel to our stores in Cyprus. It’s great to get a sense of how our operations work overseas and even better to meet the great people who are running them. Gaining an insight into Cypriot culture was certainly a bonus too!
APPLYING TO THE DAA
ARI is not the only subsidiary of the daa with a global reach. daai (daa International) currently manages and operates Terminal 5 of King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This year, two current daa graduates have taken the opportunity to relocate to Riyadh and join the daai team.
The daa hires graduates across all areas and functions of the airport such as operations, strategy, finance, human resources, marketing, security and asset management. If you like the sound of a career at daa or ARI please apply online at www.daa.ie/careers and submit your CV by Monday 24th October 2016.
Are you noticing more employers are moving away from traditional application methods and moving more towards video as part of their recruitment process? At the Jameson International Graduate Programme we introduced video applications to our recruitment process in 2010 and we’ve never looked back! If you’re not sure where to start with your video, here are our top tips so that you can complete the application process without fear!
By Sinead D’Arcy, Jameson International Graduate Programme Manager
The first thing we’ll look for in your video application is that you have the right attitude to become a Jameson Brand Ambassador. We’re on the look out to find someone who embodies the Jameson spirit of warmth, charisma and wit. Show us that you’re passionate, driven to succeed and have the dedication it takes to work with the world’s fastest growing international whiskey brand.
- Be Yourself
This is definitely one of the most important things to think about when creating your video application. We want to get to know your personality, your individuality, the things that make you, YOU! We completely understand that talking to a camera about yourself isn’t necessarily the easiest and most comfortable situation in the world, so here’s what to do- take a breath, grab your camera, sit down, relax and chat to us as if you’re chatting to an old friend.
- Tell us what’s relevant
You don’t have a lot of time so make sure your video application is full of relevant information. Tell us about yourself, your interests, your skills and why this is relevant to the Jameson Graduate Programme.
- Keep to the time
Time management is a vital part of being a Jameson Brand Ambassador. Show us that you can include all the necessary and relevant information in a 2-3 minute video and needless to say, get your application in on time!
- Make sure your written application and your video mirror each other
Bear in mind that during our review process, we take a look at your written application and your video together. Make sure they both contribute to your overall story and there is a consistency between the 2 – just like the relationship between a good book and the movie version!
If you are looking for some inspiration on how to make your application video check out videos of past successful application video’s on our YouTube channel.
Online applications for this year’s Graduate Distiller Programme close at 13:00 on Wednesday, 16th November 2016 and applications for the International Graduate Programme applications close at 13:00 on Monday, 16th January 2017. Visit our dedicated graduate recruitment website here to get your application across the line.
The Graduate Careers Fair is a fantastic opportunity to meet and ask questions of potential employers. Many employers also bring graduates who are currently on their graduate programmes to attend their stands, so you can ask what life working with this companies is really like! These conversations are unbelievable opportunities for networking, and can help you decide on future career paths or give you that nugget of ‘insider information’ that can help you through the application and interview process and ensure that you best the competition to land your dream graduate job.
We have put together some questions to have prepared to ask employers on the day of the Graduate Careers Fair:
How many graduates do you take on each year and do you employ graduates from courses like mine?
This question helps determine whether or not it is worth asking the next questions! It’s important to ascertain that an employer is hiring, or that they will be doing so in the not tooo distant future. Equally it’s good to know if the employer has successfully hired graduates with a similar background to you – this question can get the conversation off on a positive foot, or end it nice and early. If the answer is a no but you are keep to work for that employer or in that sector, ask about any conversion courses that you could take that they have successfully hired from.
What are the most important competencies you look for in graduates during the selection process?
All employers have criteria they look for when hiring. Some are quite defined, others relate to that elusive ‘fit’. Discover the answers to this question and, if you decide to apply, present your application in a way which showcases your corresponding attributes.
What would my first year in your organisation be like?
This question will prompt the recruiter to talk about their induction programme, training and development, opportunities for travel and any promotion opportunities for high-performing graduates within their company. gradireland research has shown that these are the most significant factors for students and graduates when considering which employer they would most like to work for.
Tell me the single most important thing you would advise any graduate considering applying for a role with your organisation to do!
Not strictly a question, but if you get the answer then you have the inside track which could give you that all-important edge over competition throughout the selection process.
And for non-Finalists
Do you have an internship programme and how can I get on it?
gradireland research shows that over 79% of graduate recruiters run internship programmes, and that the recruiters themselves see completing a relevant internship as the single most useful thing a graduate can do to improve their employability. It’s a great way to find out about a company, a sector of work and of course to land a graduate job further down the line.
Find out more about Ireland’s Official Graduate Careers Fair here.
It’s less than two weeks away from the most anticipated event in the gradireland events calendar, the 14th annual Graduate Careers Fair. This event will see 120 of Ireland’s leading graduate employers, start-up companies and further study providers showcasing what they have to offer in a range of different sectors. Ahead of this event we have put together a list of four things that you probably didn’t know about Ireland’s Official Graduate Careers Fair.
Top employers will be there-it’s all about jobs!
We have over 100 of Ireland’s leading employers attending this year’s Graduate Careers Fair. The exhibitor list to date is made up of 58 of the Irish Times Top 1000 companies as well as 15 international Fortune 500 companies! The best part, all of these organisations are actively recruiting for students and graduates in a range of sectors, there are interviews happening on the day itself, so come prepared!
CV Advice to beat all other
Have you hit the wall when it comes to getting your CV or application ready to send to employers? Worry not! The Graduate Careers Fair has not only a dedicated CV Clinic with over 50 hours of free careers advice but also a rolling CV Seminar with specialised advice for both international and Irish students. This is the perfect opportunity to perfect your CV and get ahead of the competition.
Opportunities with NGOs
Ever considered working as part of a non-for-profit organisation? We are excited to announce that this year’s Graduate Careers Fair will welcome some nationally and internationally established NGOs, including Oxfam Ireland and The Peter McVerry Trust . Chat to representatives about any opportunities available with these organisations.
Introducing Start-Up City
Not sure if you want to go down the traditional career route or apply for a graduate programme? This year’s gradireland Graduate Careers Fair will host our very first Start-Up Zone, which will see some of Ireland’s emerging tech talent exhibiting. Pop over to Start-Up City at the Graduate Careers Fair and find out what it’s like to be part of a high growth, fast paced start up team! Exhibitors include Gamex, Huggnote, Aromatrix and many more.
So there you have it! Four things that you might not have known about the Graduate Careers Fair, all the more reason to register now and we’ll see you in the RDS on October 5th.
Register for free entry at www.graduatecareersfair.com
We are looking forward to seeing you there!
Careers fairs are an amazing opportunity for students, graduates and young professionals to get the ‘inside scoop’ of a company, find out the opportunities they have available as well as the disciplines that they are interested in hiring in.
Preparation is key when it comes to careers fair, so we have put together some helpful tips for the day of the fair:
Use the Jobs Wall
There will be several jobs walls within the hall at the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair. These will have live graduate schemes and opportunities listed, use your phone and take a photo of any that you are interested in applying to – then go home, find the job, internship or graduate programme on gradireland.com and start applying!
Bring your CV
Many employers are happy to receive CVs at Careers Fairs. In addition, at the gradireland Graduate Careers Fair we will be running a specialist CV Clinic, hosted by careers advisors from your University providing over 50 hours of specialist advice, at which you can have your CV reviewed. However, a word of caution – the CV clinic has a limited number of slots and gets booked up very quickly, so get there early to book your appointment and don’t expect the advisors to write your CV for you – they are there to review and advise but you’ll have to do the hard work first yourself!
Make sure you have researched the exhibitors who are attending and decide beforehand which ones you would like to talk to. Think of questions which might not be answered already in brochures or on their websites. Many exhibitors bring recent graduates now working in their business to their stands, so ask them what life is really like in that company.
Attend the Seminars
Make sure you attend one or more of the specialist careers seminars – they are designed to give you the edge when it comes to applications and interviews! From Assessment Centres to Interview advice there is a seminar to benefit everyone.
Download the gradireland Events App
The brand new gradireland events app is your personal assistant for the Graduate Careers Fair. You can create a profile, directly contact employers, personalise your seminar schedule and much more! Download it from the App Store or Google Play now.
More information about the event can be found at www.graduatecareersfair.com