4 alternatives to an internship

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By in Jobs & Careers. Updated May 2016.

On the hunt for some invaluable experience in the job market, but not keen on sloggin’ it for free? We’ve got some alternatives for you to try!
The-Internship-Movie-Gets-Every-Google-Minutia-Right-May-Even-Be-Funny-2With the UK job market getting increasingly competitive, internships can be pretty crucial in ensuring you bag the job of your dreams. For many students, it can be almost impossible to get off to a good start on their career path without solid work experience.

However, months of hard work and no guarantee of a job offer at the end is pretty demotivating. Despite a lot of controversy in recent years, many companies are still getting away with offering internships that are completely unpaid, meaning that once you take travel and lunches into consideration, you’re actually paying to work for free!

And what happens if you decide it’s not the right path for you after all that hard work?

Don’t worry though, there are loads of alternatives to jumping on the internship bandwagon. If you’re not keen on an internship but feel like months of playing Fifa and watching Made in Chelsea until a great opportunity drops from the sky feels like a waste of time, then try considering one of the following alternatives.

Don’t forget to check out our guide on how to apply for graduate schemes too!

4 alternatives to an internship

  1. Check out Enternships

    dog workingOk, so strictly speaking this is still a type of internship. However, enternships are different from regular gigs with large corporate companies where the most responsibility you’re given is remembering how many sugars your boss takes in their coffee.

    Enternships are perfect options for those graduates who have an entreprenuerial spirit and are looking for a more ‘hands on’ experience in the workplace.

    Instead of working on spreadsheets for two months as another cog in the corporate wheel, you’d be working as part of a smaller team for a young, fast-growing startup. This means that not only will your tasks be more interesting, but you’ll have the chance to take on more responsibility and may be able to make a real difference to the company you’re working for.

    This is especially recommended if you’re interested in entrepreneurship, venture capital or technology, as a wealth of relevant skills and experience can be learned with an internship in the right start up.

  2. Start a business

    start businessEver had a great idea that’s slipped through your fingers because you haven’t had the time or resources to get it going?

    Well, now that you have some spare time on your hands and haven’t entered the big bad job market yet, this could be the perfect opportunity to start a company.

    Use all that free time and energy and put it to good use! Need some inspo? Check out these fool-proof student ventures to get the entrepreneurial juices flowing. Our 4 ways to earn capital guide will help you scrape the resources together too.

    Starting your own project will be great experience, as well as being something unique to write on your CV. If all goes well with the business, you may not even need to use that CV after all!

  3. Learn new skills

    Learning-a-foreign-language1
    There are so many ways you can make best use of your free time by learning new skills. The world of online learning has grown massively over the last few years, and now there are so many free online courses that you can do that will pimp up your cv, and better prepare you for the working world.

    For example, understanding basic HTML & CSS is a great asset for many positions – including everything from software development, UX design and even writing content for the web.

    If you can’t write code, the best way to learn is online (obviously!) through free websites like Code Academy.

    Want to get into investments? Learn everything you can about the stock market, start trading some shares and blog about your experience as a young investor, just like Andrew Hallam did.

    Doing something like this will not only make you stand out from the job-seeking crowd, but it’ll also teach you first hand the skills you need.

  4. Go travelling

    travelStruggling to apply for internships because you’re unsure of what sort of career you’re interested in? Travelling can be a great way to give you some time to think about which direction you’d like your career to move in, and it makes you more employable, too.

    Work, family and other commitments could get in the way of you being being able to travel in later life, so if you have the ‘travel bug’ and are unsure about your career path, use the chance to fill this need now!

    There are plenty of opportunities to earn a bit of cash while you travel, too. Try looking into Teaching English abroad (TEFL), American Summer camps or carving your own path in something you enjoy.

If you’re lucky enough to know exactly which career path you’d like to take and which company you’d be keen to work for, internships can still be a great option. However, just be aware that some companies can chance there arm in terms of what they offer you in renumeration, so make sure you know your rights!

If you’re a bit uncertain about where you’d like to be, trying out one of these alternatives could be a great way of discovering what you want to do with your life, and how to get there.

Good luck with the search, and let us know if you have any experiences to share, or alternatives that you think we’ve missed!

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