Preparing the Ground – Researching the Field
Now that you’ve undertaken a journey of self-discovery and learnt a bit more about yourself and what you have to offer, it’s time to look out into the world of work and start to learn more about the places you might be working in, the roles they need and the people who do them.
Here’s a couple of the best ways to start researching the working world.
Top Down – Investigating Industries.
By Industry we mean specific fields. For example, the banking industry which ranges from your typical high street bank all the way up to investment banks bankrolling entire countries. Or the media industry spread between many roles as it is with print, online, TV and many more.
Note that many skill sets are applicable across different fields – Journalism for example may implicitly suggest working in newspapers and the like, but all companies across different sectors have need for skilled writers for press releases, product descriptions and more. Accountants need a good proficiency with mathematics, but are far from limited only to their own pool with their skills being needed by many different companies.
Once you have identified the sectors you are interested in working in, the next step is to learn what sort of work is available within them. What sort of positions are they hiring for and what sort of skills do they want to see in their new recruits? As a potential graduate, you are especially interested in comparing the demands for entry level roles in the company as these are the most likely roles you would be fulfilling during your time as an intern.
Much of this research can be conducted easily over the Internet. The recruitment pages of large companies, and even more generic job pages, can provide you with a wealth of information on just what a company wants or needs out of potential new recruits. Even if there aren’t any opportunities advertised for a particular company, you can generally regard that companies will require the same general competencies for the same role and prepare accordingly.
It’s also a great idea to contact organizations directly to find out more. Do remember that many of these agencies will be busy, meaning you must be respectful of any time they give you to answer questions. However, it’s invaluable to get an insight into the direction different industries and specific companies may be taking.
Research Job Positions and Titles
Having figured out what sectors of the industry appeal to you, the next step is to find out what people doing the things you want to do professionally are known as. “Doctor” is obvious. “Product Standards and Implementation Manager” not quite so. This information will help you find out specifically what you need to know and what qualifications you’ll need if any to professionally work in that capacity.
For example, a medical practitioner is almost certainly going to have to have trained to a certain level before anyone even thinks of letting them near a patient. But other fields may be far more accommodating.
Getting to Specifics – Company by Company
You know what field you want to work in. You know what you want to be. Now you need to find suitable companies to approach for your internship. While some companies might have internship programmes running, many who take interns will instead rely on the initiative of potential interns to approach them to find them suitable candidates.
There’s a lot to find out about any company or organization and what it does is usually just the very start of it. There’s a lot more to take into consideration such as the size of the organization. Large organizations are often the ones most typically targeted by would be interns and job seekers alike.
However, despite their size, large organizations tend to be a minority in any particular economy with small and medium groups making up the larger part. Getting an internship with a large company might be prestigious, however it is much easier to get past the HR shield in a small company which, contrary to common belief, is set up as much to keep people out as get people in. This means it’s much easier to get the eye of decision makers within the company, such as the boss, and hopefully get an internship.
There are plenty of other things researching specific companies can do to help you in your task. You’re likely to find if, for example, any internship might be paid or not, the company culture within it, and the prospects for interns perhaps graduating to paid positions and full careers. There are also things to watch out for: sadly some companies do not uphold their end of the internship bargain, using Interns as disposable free labour while failing to provide the relevant experience and training that the Intern signed up for. It’s harder to hide such poor behaviour nowadays, so make sure you do your research so that you can get an internship at a group or organization that will respect your contributions and help you grow.