Why gain Work Experience or complete a summer internship?
As the jobs market becomes increasingly competitive, relevant experience is critical. Most employers will expect students to have gained some form of tangible experience throughout their College years.
Experience takes many forms be it involvement in clubs and societies, community work, paid or unpaid work, an internship as part of your degree course, a structured work experience with a large employer, a laboratory or fieldwork based internship or a short period of work shadowing negotiated by you with an employer.
Benefits of getting work experience:
Significantly boost your chances of a good job after College.
Make it a unique selling point on your CV/application that allows you to stand out from your competitors highlighting your new skills and achievements.
Work experience/internships enhance your employability and job prospects after graduation - up to 80% of graduates in UK companies are recruited from internship programmes.
Creates a network of potential contacts for the future
Tests out what it is like working in a certain environment/job/sector. Sometimes Junior Sophister students use a laboratory or fieldwork based internship to help them decide whether to do a research degree after completing their final year.
Any form of work experience can highlight your motivation to a prospective employer.
If linked to your course it can provide you with the opportunity to put course theory into practice.
You learn new knowledge and skills, both course-related (if applicable) and personal
It gives an insight into working life, develops self-awareness and supports in making good career decisions
You earn money!
In your JS year we therefore would encourage you to get career related work experience/internships. The Trinity Work Experience & Internships programme aims to provide you with these opportunities.
You can find work experience and internship vacancies advertised at the Careers Advisory Service's vacancy website. You'll need your TCD username and password to access this site. You'll receive an email entitled "Work Experience & Internship Positions received this week" every Friday in your Junior Sophister year.
Types of Work Experience & Internship positions
Structured work experience programmes where students receive supervised, practical experience in a career-related area. Internships usually last between 8 and 12 weeks and are a great way of helping you to clarify your future career path.
Training: is provided, generally to a high level.
Project Work: You are generally given responsibility for a specific project and you are required to make a presentation at the end of the internship.
Advertising & Closing Dates: positions are generally advertised between October to March. Closing dates are often early in the academic year, some as early as December.
Target Group: Junior Sophisters are the main target group, but occasionally applications may be accepted from students of other years. Students from ALL disciplines are invited to apply e.g. Arts & Science students are often encouraged to apply for business internships.
Competition: competition for places is tough but keep in mind that an estimated third of graduate vacancies are filled by applicants who have already worked for their employer as an undergraduate. Being offered a place on an internship programme often exempts you from a first round interview if you apply for a graduate position in your final year.
International Work Experience
More and more students are going abroad during the summer months. There are a number of programmes in place to help you to identify career-related vacancies. BUNAC offers programmes such as Summer Camp USA, KAMP USA and Work Canada.
ALL work can provide learning opportunities. You can gain valuable transferable skills in any type of part-time work, including business awareness, time-management and organisational skills. Use the Careers Advisory Service to help you to articulate your experience effectively in your applications and at interview.
Placements with Small Businesses
This can also be extremely valuable experience. Either set up your own small business (with an innovative idea and a little capital), or gain some very hands on responsibility with an existing small business.
Involves following or shadowing a professional for a week or two, usually unpaid.
The aim is to give students an insight into what a particular job entails and the skills that are necessary for that job.
How to get it - use personal contacts or send a CV to organisations of interest to you asking for work shadowing. This is unusual and impressive as it indicates real interest and commitment to this career path.
Voluntary work often involves greater variety and responsibility than in a paid job. It is a super way of getting valuable work experience and building up critical skills relevant to any job.
There are specifically designed volunteer projects which often take place during the summer months. Although they are voluntary, you will probably have to pay for your own flights and some additional administration costs if the opportunities are located overseas.
This is a sponsored Essay Competition, which encourages Senior Sophister students to reflect on the skills they gained during their summer work experience and to identify how these skills would assist them in both their final year of studies and in future job-seeking activities. First prize in this competition is €250 and second prize is €150.
Check out that you will be covered by the organisation's public liability insurance and for work related accidents. If these are not in place you need to put these in place. When travelling abroad you are advised to take out travel, personal accident or health insurance.
Listen to some employer comments on work experience:
Paul Vance, Head of Resourcing at KPMG and Colm Cunningham, Head of Fund Accounting with Bank of New York Mellon.