Harry Back is a third-year student at The London Institute of Banking & Finance. He undertook a summer internship with Handelsbanken, which he wrote about here, and has compiled his top tips for applying for and undertaking an internship.
When applying for internships
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Firstly, make sure you apply! It may seem like hassle with the workload of second-year but it honestly is one of the best experiences, and goes a long way to prepare you for working life. It's also a very productive use of a long summer break!
Make sure you acknowledge the weekly internship and graduate alert (sent out by the Careers team) and proactively use this tool to your advantage. It's also imperative to go to AWBL sessions during second-year as these provide a great insight into internships and the application processes - from CV/cover letter writing to assessment centres and interview techniques.
Ensure that you have completed adequate research on the organisation and have read and understood the culture, the type of applicants they are looking for and the application process for the role. It's also important to make sure you understand the role you are applying for. Then tailor your CV and cover letter to the organisation and link it to information you have researched on the company to show you have the competencies/culture they are looking for.
In the interview process make sure you have prepared adequately (print a copy of your CV, take all the documentation they ask for, pens, a pad and most importantly ensure you arrive 15 minutes before!). During the interview, make sure you stay calm, be yourself (it is important to get your personality across) and SMILE, you’ll be surprised how much of an impact a smile can have.
During the internship
It sounds simple but ensure you are organised and prepared for your first day and every day after that. Make sure you have a pad/diary and any stationery you may need. Preparation is key and will give the right impression to your new colleagues and the organisation.
Many organisations use internships as a trial and there will be job opportunities after your role has finished and at the end of your degree, so a good impression is always important.
You will have heard this so often but time management is important and indicates a good work ethic. Always turn up early and make sure you are punctual when taking breaks, be willing to stay later and start earlier if required.
Ensure you take time to understand and adjust your new surroundings, be enthusiastic towards your tasks and activities and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You should view your internship as a career development tool and ensure that every day you are learning and improving in your working environment. Finally make sure you enjoy your experience and ensure you make the most of it!