Internship is work experience
An internship completed during your studies is a good opportunity to gain work experience in your own field, as well as network in the field. Through work experience, you also improve your chances of entering the labour market. By already beginning networking during studies, you can gain information about the operators in the field and possible work opportunities. Please also note that work experience can also be gained from various summer jobs, part-time jobs and volunteering, in addition to internships.
Learning objectives of internships
The purpose of internships belonging to studies is to apply the lessons learned in education in practice and to help structure theoretical knowledge. The practices of internships are specific to the field of education and vary between universities/ institutes of higher education. So, as you start looking for an internship, make sure to find out more about the requirements and goals of your degree curriculum concerning internships. You should also set your own goals for your internship and monitor their implementation as the internship progresses.
If you want to earn credits for internships, i.e. as part of a degree, check the practices of your own university/subject concerning acceptance of an internship.
Where to find an internship?
You can search for internship offers sent to universities through the universities’ own employment services or by contacting employers of interest directly. Trainee spots for recent graduates are available in the private sector, although these may not meet the conditions required for university internships.
If you are would prefer an internship outside Finland, an international internship programme is often the most convenient way to find a spot. Internship programmes can be found, for example, on the website of the National Board of Education.
Internship subsidy or grant?
Some employers require a subsidy from a student undertaking an internship. An internship subsidy is applied for from the student’s own university.
If you carry out your internship abroad, internship programmes and/or universities often pay grants for the costs of internships, such as travel grants. However, the size of the subsidy or grant, the terms upon which it is granted and other practices vary greatly, so these things can best be established by asking for more information concerning your own subject.
At the end of the internship
- Ask if someone would be willing to provide references for a future job search or a recommendation on LinkedIn
- Request a work certificate with an assessment of the internship.
- Update your CV and LinkedIn profile.
You will get more out of your internship experience when you consider what you have learned after your internship, for example, through the following things. Also consider questions during the internship.
- What skills and capabilities did I need to carry out my work tasks?
- Which tasks did I like the most, and how did I succeed the best?
- Which tasks did I like the least, and how could I have done better?
- What did I learn about my field?
- Am I interested enough in the field that I would like to find employment in the field in question after graduation?
- What kind of contacts did I make during my working period?
- How did I like my working location and working with my colleagues?
- What role did I play in the work community?
- What kind of feedback did I receive from my employer and colleagues?
- What did my employer gain from my internship?
Job search is more than just browsing vacancies in various services. You can improve your job search by first analyzing yourself. What kind of work do you want to do? What is important and relevant to you? What strengths and skills do you have? Where have you been involved? What would you like to learn?
When applying for jobs, it is also a good idea to try to settle in the position of employer. What skills does the employer need? What is the organization working on? How is it organized? With whom and for whom does the organization work?
Did you know that many jobs are filled without an open search? A targeted search for organizations that interest you can be a good way to avoid a congestion of applicants and find a need that has not been processed into a job advertisement.