An Intern’s Perspective:
Internships are a tricky thing. Despite becoming a rite of passage for the newly graduated, actually getting one can be a battlefield of uncertainty, especially if the opportunity comes with the chance of a livable wage. Having had a range of internships; from making coffee and photocopying at large companies, to being given odd jobs out of pity in startup environments. The challenge for an intern is finding a company who is going to enable you to try new things, whilst adding real value to the organisation.
One positive feature of an internship is the chance to experience completely different sizes of industries and marketplaces. You get to experience the formality and procedures of a corporate setting vs the flat hierarchy of a start up. You can switch between departments figuring out if you're more interested in sales or strategy, development or design, whilst gaining relevant experience in those fields. As a consequence, interns can offer unbridled enthusiasm paired with an eclectic array of skill.
Finding the right placement
Interning at Leads to You is remarkable in comparison. On my first day, I was given a desk, a log in, and a to-do list. No coffee orders or quick demonstrations on how to warm the photocopier; I was spearheading projects and adhering to deadlines from day one. People asked for my opinion and I gave feedback on theirs, both in the meeting room and the water cooler. The culture of curating and contributing ideas here meant that, I learnt later, a lot of focus was placed on the recruitment process. To my delight, I was hired here to because I was right for the job, rather than as a hand-out to bolster my CV.
Make the most of the opportunity
To make the most out of an internship, make sure that your voice and your intentions are heard. If you are there to learn more about the industry, ask to sit in on meetings to get a sense of the kind of roadblocks and processes you could expect. If you have skills that are not specifically related to your job role, offer your services anyway. Even if your offer is turned down, you have demonstrated that you can be flexible and tenacious. Finally, try to identify what you are looking for versus what you are willing to work towards. It is the difference between a pay packet or office culture, creative freedom or brand recognition. Catering for and indulging in that curiosity allows you to have a clearer direction while becoming a more well-rounded employee.
An Employer’s Perspective:
Tapping into a wide range of skills
When Leads To You decided to create a new role in our New Market Development team, an intern was the natural choice for us to be able to recruit an individual with the right skills for the job.
The position of New Market Analyst was an entirely new role for Leads To You. The New Market Analyst is tasked with researching potential new lead types for the business, subsequently reporting on their viability. Bringing a new employee up to speed with the nuances of the lead generation industry is relatively easy, but finding an individual with the right analytical and reporting skills is more of a challenge.
With an intern, we were able access a graduate fresh out of university, who possesses all of the skills that we need to make the role a success.
Freedom to try new things
Research and development is a crucial area for any business to invest in, to ensure sustainable growth through diversification. Creating new roles however, does carry risk. The safest route would be for us to continue the status quo, afraid to branch out of our comfort zone and to only recruit roles that we know will deliver an immediate return on our investment.
The affordable and fixed term nature of an internship allows us to largely mitigate this risk, by bringing in the talent we need to try new ideas. While the aim is to retain and develop that talent, both parties are also comfortable with the possibility of the project coming to an end, if the foray into new fields does not work out as expected.
The very nature of an internship is that it is a fixed term agreement that exists to enable interns to gain experience in the workplace, and figure out the right career path for them. The flexibility offered by an internship is a great way for employers to bring on talent that they may not find through traditional routes, however the hope is that the intern can be developed and retained as a long term employee.
Keeping it local
Whether an intern turns into a permanent employee, or moves on to try new things, we are happy to be supporting local graduates that will hopefully stay in the local area. The aim is to reduce the drain of talent from more rural areas such as Exeter, to bigger cities like the capital.
Exeter University is ranked between 13 and 14 of all UK universities (2018), providing an invaluable pool of local talent.Return back to Knowledge