Internship

We get it; you are in that phase of life where you have to make some serious decisions regarding your career. You have many questions, including; what industry do I want to work in? Should I do an internship or get a full-time job? Should I stay in education for longer?

Unfortunately, we can’t answer all those questions in this blog (check out our other blogs for more career advice!) however, we will discuss one of the most common questions that candidates ask us at Capital Placement. What type of internship is best for me?

Internships are becoming increasingly popular, which is excellent as they provide valuable career-building experience and are a perfect way to start your career. As a result, there are lots of different types, from international internships to remote internships and paid internships to unpaid ones; as a result, it can be confusing as to which one is the best given your current situation.

So, if you are confused about what type of internship is best for you, this blog will hopefully help you understand the pros and cons of every aspect of different kinds of internships including; duration, location, pay and more to help you discover the best type of internship for you.

Duration of the Internship

First things first, the duration or the length of your internship is significant. The length of your internship is not just about the total time you are working for the company; there are also factors such as the number of hours you work every week to consider.

Full-Time or Part-Time?

Internships can be full-time or part-time. It can be the company that decides whether your internship will be full-time or part-time, or you can have a say as well. The majority of full-time internships are paid, but again, it depends on the employer and the industry.

For example, if you are doing a medical internship, you will usually work full-time. Other employers may be happy for you to work part-time where you only have to do 5-20 hours a week. This can be especially useful if you are a university student and you want to do an internship between your studies.

For some internships, there is no set time. You will be assigned projects or tasks. These may be relatively short, where you complete one each day, or they may be longer tasks with a deadline in a few weeks, and you will be required to work on it independently or as part of a team and submit your work by the deadline, similar to a university assignment.

Weeks, Months or Years?

Once you have decided if you want to work full-time or part-time, the next thing to consider is the total duration of the internship. This can vary widely depending on the employer and the type of internship. It can be only a few weeks long or may last up to a year.

Shorter internships are generally unpaid or voluntary positions where you may just shadow someone else doing work or complete small tasks, as you won’t have time to really get to know the company.

However, these are often useful as a way to add some experience on your CV and to get a taste of what working in a particular industry is like, and see if you would want to work full-time or get a longer internship in the industry.

Summer Internships

Summer internships are very popular; they are between 2-3 months long and are designed for university students who are looking to gain experience during their summer break. This is a great way to get that crucial work experience without having to take time out of your studies, and if you find an international summer internship, you can fit some travelling in at the same time. Win! Win!

Longer internships, between 8 months to a year are an excellent way to develop your skills, really get a feel for the industry and become part of the company you are interning with. A longer internship will typically mean that you get the opportunity to work on more projects and be exposed to more areas of the company, which is great for building your network. Companies are also more likely to hire you after your internship if you have spent a large amount of time with them as they will know you better and trust that you will do a good job.

Overall, the length of the internship is very important, and generally, the longer your internship, the more you will gain out of it. However, if you can’t commit to a long term internship, then even just a few weeks of experience will be valuable and look great on your CV!

Paid vs Unpaid Internships

The next thing to consider when looking at different types of internships is whether you want it to be paid or unpaid. Obviously, you are all thinking, “I want to be paid, duh!” However, unfortunately, not all internships are paid and depending on your circumstances, an unpaid internship may be the best option. Below we will discuss some of the pros and cons of each type, if you want to read more about the differences between paid and unpaid internships then check out our blog.

Unpaid Internships:

An unpaid internship is a viable option for many students and is a great way to get experience without any stress. As the name suggests, doing an unpaid internship means you will not get any stipend or salary after the internship ends. There are both pros and cons of such internships.

The pros may include

  • Expectations are usually much lower for unpaid internships, so you get the experience without as much stress to meet deadlines.
  • Based on your performance, the employer may choose to give you an incentive at the end of the internship.

If the employer likes your performance, there is a chance that they will approach you for full-time employment or offer you a paid internship.

The cons may include:

  • The most obvious disadvantage is, they are unpaid, which can be demoralising.
  • Your trainers often may not put as much effort into teaching you and instead just get you to shadow their work.
  • You can feel a little left out and not fully part of the company or team you are working with.

Paid Internships:

Paid internships differ primarily from unpaid internships in terms of flexibility and workload. For starters, you will be treated as an employee of the company, and as you are paid, they will expect you to produce work that is of value to them.

Some of the pros of paid internships include:

  • You get paid! Everyone knows that being a student is not cheap, so receiving some type of pay can be of great help.
  • You typically will be more involved and get to work on more exciting projects, unlike unpaid internships.
  • An unpaid internship looks much better on your CV as it shows that you were a valued employee of the company.

There are still some downsides to a paid internship; these include:

  • The workload is typically higher; this can be a problem if you are trying to fit the internship around your studies.
  • There is often less flexibility in terms of taking holiday. Because you are paid, you will be treated as an employee, as such that means you will have a set amount of holiday and have to adhere to the companies rules on taking it.
  • They are less common, which means it can be harder to find one that is relevant to the industry you wish to work in, in the future.

Internship Location

The final thing to consider when thinking about the type of internship you want, is the location. Do you want to be living abroad and working in a different country, or would you prefer to be close to home and friends whilst completing your internship? Or do you want to work from your own bed and do a remote internship?

Below we discuss the three main types of locations where you can intern, these are remotely, locally or internationally and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Remote Internships

A remote internship is the ability to intern entirely online from the comfort of your home. In 2020, it’s probably one of the only and safest ways for you to gain experience. However, even before the pandemic, a remote internship offered a lot of benefits.

These include:

  • The flexibility to choose when and where you worked.
  • The opportunity of working with global companies without having to move across the world.
  • Excellent affordability- remote internships allow you to save money on both accommodation and commuting.

Although it may sound amazing to be working from your own home for a company in a different continent there are some disadvantages:

  • You may feel excluded from the “in-person” environment, especially if you are working on a different timezone.
  • It doesn’t feel like a “real” internship, as you are not there in person you may not get that same internship experience, and you may learn less, as you won’t have as many opportunities to network with other employees.
  • Distractions. It’s easy to get distracted by roommates, peers, and even your phone while working remotely, which can lead to you having to work longer to get the work done.

Check out our blog on remote internships to find out more about them.

Local Internship

A local internship is interning in the same city or close to where you have lived all your life. A local internship is probably the most common type of internship, and they have been around for many years.

Some of the pros of a local internship are:

  • It is often easier to find one as they are more common, and the companies often look to hire local students/graduates.
  • They are generally cheaper as you don’t need to worry about moving to a different place.
  • They are great if you know you want to live near your hometown when you are older as if you do well you may be offered a full-time job with the company.

Cons:

  • You don’t get to explore new cities or countries.
  • If you want to work for a large corporation or a well-known company, unless you live in a large city, it is unlikely that there will be those types of companies near to you.

Domestic Internships

A domestic internship is doing an internship in the same country, but not necessarily in the same city. To get a domestic internship, you will have to spend time researching the domestic companies offering internships to students/graduates. Often these are larger corporations.

Pros of a domestic internship:

  • One of the most significant benefits of doing a domestic internship is that you get to explore a new part of your country.
  • You don’t need to worry about visas, unlike international internships.
  • You won’t need to learn another language.

Cons of domestic internships:

  • It takes a lot of time, and energy to find the best internships available domestically, they are often with large well-known companies and can be competitive.
  • You will have to find accommodation and pay for flights/petrol to travel to your internship city.

International Internship

International internships are the most in-demand internships; the intern gets to go to another country and live and work in a completely different environment. As lucrative as it sounds, these types of internships do require the most amount of time, energy, effort, and even money to source and apply for. You may have to deal with people who don’t understand your language, and you will often require a visa which can be hard to obtain. Although it is hard work to get one, the benefits are numerous, some of these are:

  • You get to travel to a whole new country and learn about their culture.
  • An international internship will make your CV stand out.
  • Companies are increasingly looking for candidates who have global awareness and experience of working in different countries.
  • They will help you grow hugely on a personal level, as you will need to overcome lots of challenges to obtain the international internship and once you are working abroad.

Applying for an international internship is a big step, so here are some of the disadvantages to consider:

  • Travelling and accommodation can be costly.
  • You may need to obtain a visa which can be costly and take a long time.
  • You are less likely to receive a full-time offer after your internship, especially if you are required to get a visa for the internship.

Obtaining an international internship can be extremely difficult if you don’t know where to look. However, a great way to find one is to use third-party providers like ourselves (shameless plug!)

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter what type of internship you choose, as long as you are learning and developing; any internship will give you valuable experience and develop you professionally. Think about your current circumstance and your future career goals and then use this to find out what type of internship you think will be best for you.

Let us know in the comments, what type of internship you would like to do! Or follow us on Instagram to continue the conversation!

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Julia Hurtado

Julia Hurtado

Having spent an entire summer dedicated to travelling abroad, Julia now focuses on helping other students experience life outside their home country. As an American now working in London, Julia enjoys sharing advice on interning abroad, sipping tea (with 2 sugars, 1 milk please) and reading in her spare time.

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