You're enjoying the long summer break - planning your next bit of globetrotting and putting off thoughts of next year's reading list which is waiting for you on your desk when you return. Focused on sunscreen, paradise beaches and where to find the best budget hostel, careers and job applications couldn't be further from your mind. You've got years of relaxed student life yet, right? Wrong. But fear not, Bright Network is here to help.
Evidence shows that to get ahead in the competitive graduate careers market, having some early work experience or a couple of internships under your belt will dramatically increase your chances of success. And it's much more than just learning how to write a polite email and making cups of tea for the boss.
For the classic City careers - investment banking, commercial law or working for a big blue-chip company - these internships are much more than a foot in the door. Companies use these internships - which are often offered to first and second year students - as a sort of extended interview process. Do your time on a spring placement, then your chances of getting a summer internship the following year are significantly higher. Once you've done your internship, your name is definitely higher on the list of students who may finally end up landing themselves a plum graduate role in the end.
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It's not all suits and ties
For less traditional career paths - in the arts, media or working for a high-growth start up - internships during university are similarly a great way to get your foot in the door, though often less formal in structure and application process. In the literary agency where I started my career, many an intern progressed from filing author contracts one summer, to becoming an agent's assistant the following year, then after university joining the team in a graduate role and finally becoming a fully-fledged literary agent a few years later.
For all career paths, the usefulness of an internship goes way beyond this. Internships offer you an amazing insight into the day-to-day reality of working in your chosen organisation. You'll see how the different functions within the organisation fit together, collaborate and what employees actually do with their time. You'll also pick up essential business skills, which (let's be honest) three years draped over the back of a chair in the History lecture theatre is not going to.
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Find out what's best for you
And if you don't yet know where your calling lies, early internships are even more important. If your only direct experience of the working world comes from hearing your mum complain about office politics in the local solicitors she works in, how on earth can you work out what you would like to do with your life? You need to go out and seek your own experience and find business and professional people that inspire you: internships are one of the best ways to do this.
If you're ready to find your dream internship, or if you just want to see what's out there - use our handy application deadline list for all available internships in various sectors.