Most graduates shy away from the idea of an internship. Mostly because this usually means unpaid work. Living in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world, makes this an unfeasible way of gaining experience. It’s a catch 22, you’ve recently graduated and you’d love the opportunity to gain experience and meet new people, but you also need a stable job to help you pay your way.
Working full-time with H&M meant that there was little time to focus on my chosen career path.For this reason, interning with UK University Search was very accessible for me. It was an ideal way of getting some hands-on-experience in a relevant industry. The flexible working hours and being able to come into the office one day a week meant that I could work around my other commitments.
Having worked in a retail environment in stores around England for nearly five years, I was accustomed to a fast-paced, demanding and a physically challenging atmosphere. Once the initial interview process was over, I was slightly nervous about that transition from the shop floor to the office. I was comfortable working with customers and not really having to think about what needs to be done. Working in an office was almost liberating for me. It gave me the opportunity to learn new things and to further develop my skillset. The work space was small, but consisted of a friendly team in a relaxed atmosphere.
Interning has been a valuable experience. A typical day in the office would entail writing, researching and pitching original content for the company’s magazines. Being a close-knit office meant that I worked very closely with my manager. Working closely with my manager meant that I was able to receive regular and useful feedback about my writing, and what I could improve on. Furthermore, it meant that I was able to discuss and develop any potential ideas for the magazine. The role also involved working on my communication skills. Although I work in a customer focused role, speaking to professionals on the telephone is something that I detest. It makes me flustered and nervous. So acquiring contact information for the company was a great way for me to develop my communication skills. My telephone manor surely improved the more schools I called. I was also able to rekindle my MS Excel skills. Not having worked with Excel and databases since high school meant that I was able to re-familiarise myself with the software and understand and appreciate the importance of such work.
I truly believe that choosing to intern with UK University Search has been a valuable experience. It has helped me to realise that this is defiantly something that I would love to do full-time. I thoroughly enjoy researching, reading and learning about new things. Being able to work closely with my manager meant that my work received the necessary critique, which perhaps I would not receive in a permanent position. Although the placement was not paid, seeing my work published on the company’s website was rewarding and motivating. Plus, work placements give your CV that added boost!
- By Shreena Bagga