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To Intern or Not to Intern?

Gloria Lazar debates the value of getting a head start in your career.


A question we all face sooner or later during our university career. Perhaps not in first year, when all we care about is finding our way around campus, joining the societies best fit for our interests and locating the best pubs in town. Maybe not even during second year when we start getting bombarded by all kinds of internship opportunities and this or that career schemes. They might seem tempting at first look, but the applications are usually so dreadfully long and the risk of not even getting the position after putting in all that effort can be reason enough to ignore them.

But then it’s third year and you start thinking about whether to do a masters degree or get a job straight away. You sit down to update your CV, you tweak tiny little details about your education that makes you look like a catch, and then you get to the part where you need to list your work experience in the chosen field. Which you don’t have. Because you were too busy, too lazy or simply just not interested enough to think about it. It’s a hard slap in the face when you realise your lack of experience might just be the reason you won’t get the job you want or get accepted onto the masters program you’ve been planning to do next year.

You get an insider’s glimpse into the job you might one day do

So yes, the short answer to the dilemma is, intern. Definitely do everything in your power to just get even a few weeks of experience in whatever field you want a career in. Yes, it might be a drag to spend your vacation working instead of hanging out with your friends, and yes, it usually does not pay which can make it seem like a waste of time. But there are so many things you can learn from the experience: you get an insider’s glimpse into the job you might one day do, which is often eye-opening because you were expecting something completely different. It’s a chance to see if you’re actually interested and would like to pursue your chosen field or if it’s time to look for a plan B.

An internship is not only an incredible experience that makes your CV more impressive and increases your chances of getting that dream job, but it’s a brilliant opportunity for getting connections in the business too.

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