Your first experience in the field you want to make a career in is an invaluable opportunity, so it’s important you’re prepared. We have some tips from our Events Intern, Poppy Harrington, to get you started.
Once you find and secure an internship in a company, the nerves can set in. Knowing what to expect and what will be expected of you can be daunting, especially if it’s the first time you’re going into a working environment. Poppy Harrington is a 3rd year Events Management student in DIT and currently an Events Intern at gradireland. She has some tips for anyone about to start their internship:
1. Take your time: Rushing into the first internship you’re offered can be tempting, but remember to look into the company and the role they’re offering before accepting the internship.
My advice would be not to just take the first internship you’re offered, unless you’re absolutely certain it’s what you want. Do a lot of research before you choose a placement, and choose one that’s right for you and that you will definitely learn from.
2. Factor in payment: gradireland’s Graduate Salary & Recruitment Trends Survey revealed that 92% of employers surveyed pay their interns. However, some internship opportunities can still be unpaid. If this is the case with your internship, think about if that will be feasible for you over the course of your internship and if you’re getting valuable experience from it. If you will need to work part-time outside of your internship, consider the impact that can have, particularly if your internship is 6 months or longer.
3. Look after yourself: Getting used to working full-time in your area of study for the first time will be tiring. Work/life balance is very important. At least twice a week I try to go and meet my friends for coffee after work to break it up. It’s important to look after yourself and make time for yourself.
4. Find a company that suits you: Different companies have different atmospheres. Before you start applying for internships, think about what kind of workplace you feel you’d suit. Think about dress-codes, work hours, and company goals and aims. Do a lot of research; make sure you know something about the ethos of the company. I think it suits me that gradireland is quite an informal place, I don’t think I would enjoy working in an atmosphere that was very formal. Also, make sure you use the internship experience to open as many doors for you in terms of applying for jobs and doing interviews, it will all stand to you in the long run.
For more tips on starting an internship visit our internship section on gradireland.com
According to the 2017 gradireland Graduate Salary & Recruitment Trends Survey (coming soon) over 75% of businesses said they offer work experience or internships to college students. Also, 66% of students surveyed by gradireland saying they had completed work experience or an internship. We take a look at the internship experience from the perspective of a pre-final year student. By Hannah Kelly.
“Internships give students a taste of working life, equip them with vital industry experience and can help them choose where they want go to in their career,” says Poppy Harrington, a 3rd year Events Management student from DIT, who is currently four months into her six month internship here at gradireland.
“My role is Events Intern, so I liaise with the events manager and events co-ordinator for all of our events,” she explained, “my main role has been to organise Summer Fair which is on June 7th in the RDS”.
More and more courses at third level are adding work placement as a module. Poppy believes her “course wouldn’t be the same without” the internship because in this field experience is everything. Poppy had some previous experience of running events in college, but not comparable to the scale she is now working on in her internship.
“For the Summer Fair we already have 1600 people registered and for my event in college only 50 people came, so it’s definitely on a different level to what I was used to,” she said.
Above all, Poppy feels like her internship has given her a chance to explore what her future career might look like and what aspects of events she enjoys.
“It’s opened doors for me about what I want to do when I finish, because I’m still not 100% sure what I want to do, but everyday I’m here I learn more about what I want to do, what I don’t want to do and what interests me and what doesn’t,” she said.
A concern Poppy has is how she will feel returning to a college environment after being in the workplace for six months. She feels internships would be better suited once a student is finished with their degree.
“I’m not looking forward to go back to assignments and having tutors tell me what to do instead of working on my own initiative and making my own choices with a team,” Poppy said, adding “I think having this experience at the end of my degree would have been more beneficial as my internship is so long”.
Once finished her final year in college, she hopes to go on to further study after gradireland introduced her to the possibility of graduate programmes and believes the internship has been hugely beneficial and will stand to her once she enters the working world.
“The way I see it, these six months of my life will be really beneficial in terms of what I can learn and learn about myself” Poppy said, “I didn’t even know what a graduate programme was before gradireland and it has opened my mind as to what is out there when I finish”.
Next week, Poppy will share her top tips for starting your internship on the front foot.
Large graduate employers often take on interns too. We’ve put together what the benefits of internships with large employers are and how to find vacancies.
Do well as an intern for an employer that also runs a graduate scheme and you could significantly increase your chances of being hired there when you finish university.
Even if you don’t end up working there permanently, you will still have a prestigious name to add to your CV. You will also have benefited from the training you received from your internship employer. This will stand to you in the future.
How to find an internship at a big employer
Firstly take a look at the graduate jobs section of the gradireland website. You can filter your search to focus only on internship roles advertised. Or if you know that a company runs a graduate scheme, chances are it will have an internship programme too – most employers have a careers website where you can find out.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by deadlines that seem far away. If an employer gets enough quality internship applications before the set deadline, it may cut the application period short. To be on the safe side, as soon as you see an internship advertised, start work on your application so you can submit it in good time.
How to apply for these internships
The application and selection process for internships is often similar to the process for graduate jobs. It will almost definitely involve an online application form and a face-to-face interview. In addition, at different stages you may need to complete psychometric tests, a phone interview and an assessment day. You can find all the information you need on the gradireland website where we cover
Remember applying and interviewing for internships is a great way to improve your interview techniques.
Sector-specific advice for finding an internship at a big graduate employer
Make the most of the advice available that is tailored to specific industries by visiting the career sectors section of the gradireland website.
Internships with smaller intakes: are they worth it?
‘Yes’ is the answer. While they might be harder to find , they can still give you skills and experience that will help you get a graduate job.
Check out our blog on “Top reasons to look for an internship that has a smaller intake”
On the 27th of April, gradireland will host its annual Graduate Recruitment Awards at Dublin’s Mansion House. The following companies have been nominated for the Best Internship Programme more than 50 intake:
*A version of this article first appeared on targetjobs.co.uk
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
By Adam Trundle, Corporate Finance & Tax Rotation Intern, Deloitte
When I applied for the summer internship in Deloitte, I wasn’t really sure if it was going to be for me. I am studying Maths and Music in Maynooth University, so my background in business is pretty much zero!
To be honest I only applied at all because Deloitte were placed so highly in the gradireland rankings. Nothing to lose by giving it a go! When I came in for my interview, it was soon obvious that Deloitte wasn’t just some big, boring ‘accounting’ firm. Everyone was kind and welcoming, no matter where they worked. I was lucky enough to be offered a 12 week internship, split between Tax and Corporate Finance. I accepted my place, but I still wasn’t really sure if Deloitte was right for me.
When I arrived on the first day, any worries I had about not fitting in were quickly dispelled. Our first week was spent getting to know all of the other interns and we were given lots of really helpful general training. When we went out to our respective departments, the encouraging atmosphere continued. I soon learned that no one expected us to know everything about tax already, thankfully! What was more important was being willing to learn and having a ‘can-do’ attitude. Everyone that I met was willing to take time out of their day to explain things to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know something coming in because I was there to learn, with some of the best teachers in the business.
After a great six weeks in Corporate Tax, it was time for me to move to Restructuring Services in Corporate Finance. This was a daunting prospect, because while I had some idea of what tax is, restructuring and insolvency were entirely alien concepts to me! When I arrived first, I was given a general overview of what the team I was joining did day-to-day. Every question I had was answered in detail, until I felt confident about my individual role. I am writing this blog at the end of my third week in corporate finance and I can safely say that I have learned more about restructuring in these few weeks than I did up to this point.
I’m really glad that I applied for a summer internship here in Deloitte, even though my degree didn’t originally seem relevant. I would recommend that anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do after college does the same. The learning and development team, the online resources and the people-focussed culture mean that anyone can achieve their full potential. That includes the likes of me, studying for a non-business degree.
Find out more from gradireland about what’s involved in areas like audit, tax and accountancy with our unique series of #FYI videos. Perfect for kicking off your career thinking while you’re still in college!
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!