Completing an internship is a great way to complement your formal studies in Australia. Internships provide an opportunity to gain experience in your field of interest, expand your knowledge and skills beyond what you learn in class, start networking with potential employers and explore the career you want to pursue after graduation. If you’re considering gaining some work experience, we offer some advice for securing an internship in Australia.
Be prepared for volunteer work
When you begin looking for internship opportunities you’ll notice that many positions are unpaid. This doesn’t mean that the work is without its rewards — future employers will look highly on your initiative in gaining experience and there may be an opportunity to progress to a paid role if the company is impressed by your work as an intern! Even if the position doesn’t lead to paid work, there is still the possibility that the organisation may consider you in the future or act as a reference for other roles.
Look for opportunities on offer at your institution
There are a number of ways your institution can help you gain an internship. Firstly, you can look for opportunities to work at the institution itself, in areas such as marketing or IT. These positions, along with those available with partner organisations, will often be advertised on the institution’s website or by email. Another idea is to approach your lecturer or tutor to see if they can recommend or put you in contact with an organisation in your field. Visiting the careers service is also a great option.
Contact organisations of interest
If there is a particular organisation you’d love to intern for, have a look at their website to see if they offer any work experience opportunities. This information is often found on the ‘careers’ page or, if specific roles are currently available, advertised on the organisation’s social media pages. If you can’t find any information about internship opportunities, try contacting the organisation directly by sending an email asking if they are currently looking for any interns or expressing your interest in any future openings.
Update your résumé and prepare for interviews
The application process for an internship position is often similar to that of a normal job — so be sure to update your résumé and start practising for interviews. When sending applications, it is a good idea to write an individual cover letter for each position, detailing your past experience, future goals, strengths and interests, as well as how you heard about the position and why you would like to work for that specific organisation. You should make sure your résumé is up to date with any recent achievements and has your correct contact details listed. Depending on the field you’re interested in, some organisations may also ask for some examples of your work, such as pieces of writing, design projects, artwork or experience with certain programs or software — be prepared to have some of your best work ready to submit. As always, it is a good idea to have someone look over your application for any errors, particularly if English isn’t your first language.