The job market, particularly in areas like finance, is a competitive and often sparse place these days, with far more people applying for jobs than there are actual positions available. Because of this, gone are the days where you could expect to slip straight into your dream role upon graduation, with a degree often no longer enough to set you above the rest of your fellow candidates.
Instead, we are seeing a significant shift towards internships and summer jobs, with trainees and graduates hoping to gain the vital hands-on experience employers now prefer and to establish the links that may well lead to a full-time position down the line. With this seeming the most viable path for most people and more companies specialising in helping to locate internships and graduate jobs, here are a few tips on how to make a good impression and successfully land a more permanent role within a company upon completion of an internship.
The best thing you can do is show your prospective employers how seriously you are taking the role and how eager you are to learn. Don’t feel you have to be seen to settle in right away and know how everything works instantly; that’s not why you’re there. You’re there to ask questions, broaden your knowledge and expand your skills.
One of the most important things you can do is to integrate yourself within the team. Find common ground which you can use to bond with them, even if it’s things as seemingly irrelevant as a mutual taste in music or a shared love of sport. The more they feel they can relate to and engage with you, the more they are likely to willingly mentor and spend time with you. This not only allows you the chance to learn from them, but forms bonds that will serve you well when it comes to the selection process for permanent jobs.
Show team skills
Along the same vein as making friends, it’s important to show that you can work well as part of a team by getting involved in discussions and group work as much as possible. Don’t simply complete your designated tasks and then sit, twiddling your thumbs – be proactive and ask how you can help. While you don’t want to be overbearing, enthusiasm is definitely appreciated.
Remember your position
It’s common for interns to be offered the chance to socialise with their fellow trainees and senior members of staff outside of the office or on team building exercises to aid with the bonding process. These are a golden ticket to forming valuable connections and should be taken immediately, but always remember that you are constantly being assessed for your suitability for a position within the company. Remain dignified, smartly dressed, engaging and interested at all times, both in and out of the work environment.
There are definitely graduate jobs and internships in finance out there. It’s just about adjusting your expectations and accepting that the path to get where you ultimately want to be is a little longer than it used to be, but that with the right attitude and perseverance, you can get there.