Should I do an internship whilst studying?

University of Bath student Divesh Hirani gives us his thoughts, after interning with Kaplan Holborn College.

In today’s competitive job market many graduates are finding it difficult to start their career. With the number of graduates steadily increasing, you need to stand out from the crowd. The most popular method is doing an internship and there are benefits to doing it whilst studying.

Build up your contacts

An internship is the first step in building up your contacts which is vital in today’s job market – it’s more about who you know, than what you know. Even if you think it is a menial task like admin work or even making tea, do it! If you make a good cup of tea, you’ll be noticed, and that’s what it’s all about. Who knows, you may even meet your future boss during your internship.

Strengthen your CV

It’s natural that if you have more experience, you will have a better CV. Most students don’t have a lot of work experience when they finish studying. They focus on getting a first, taking part in a few societies and then go and look for a job. There isn’t anything wrong with that, however a graduate with a 2.1 that has some previous experience is more attractive than one with first class honours and no work experience at all. Having done an internship will let employers know that you understand the business, know how to work as part of a team and assume responsibility. It will also give you a story to tell in an interview, beyond having spent your university life studying.

'Test drive' the job

Everyone has an idea of what job they want to do, however you can end up finishing your degree, getting your dream job and hate it. I always wanted to be an investment banker, mostly for the money, but after having a similar job role I now know what the job actually demands and that it’s not the job for me.

During my internship at Kaplan, I liked the various jobs that I was given and it has opened my eyes to careers that I thought weren’t paid well or that I didn’t know about. Now I can comfortably see myself in a managerial role in the education sector. I’ve decided to change my career path by simply doing an internship.

Amazing work experience

Internships can give you the opportunity to do some pretty cool jobs, something out of the ordinary. They allow you to meet colleagues that you wouldn’t have otherwise met! Having an internship can definitely be something that transforms your life and gives you new perspective.

If you want to gain some transferable skills, meet some interesting people and earn a bit of spending money, then I thoroughly recommend doing an internship. Don’t let your degree suffer though; you will need to balance your time carefully. Some universities are even making their timetables flexible to allow for this! If don’t have many contact hours getting work experience while studying is a good use of that time not spent at uni. Then once you graduate you are in a better position than all those graduates who have yet to get into the workplace.

Where next?