If you’re looking for a career in marketing, advertising or PR, then you probably already know that these are extremely competitive industries with hundreds, if not thousands, of candidates whenever a good role becomes available.
With such a vast sea of applicants to sift through, it’s incredibly important that your CV stands out from the rest. Sadly, an appropriate degree, even if it’s a First from a good university, simply isn’t enough anymore. Prospective employees are under more and more pressure to deliver an extraordinary amount of experience in their chosen field before they even get that all-important first job. Additional online courses, workshops, lectures – these are all things that are now expected of a candidate, let alone seen as going the extra mile. But ultimately, the most important thing employers are after is hands-on, real-world practical experience and there’s no better way to acquire this than through fully immersive, comprehensive internships.
There are a number of reasons why employers have such high demands these days. For one, it shows your dedication to the industry, meaning they’re not hiring someone who is likely to flake out because, having actually tried it, they’ve decided that actually, this business isn’t for them. But additionally, they’ll be getting a more knowledgeable recruit for the same salary and one that won’t need as much training or hand-holding when they get started.
Now, all this might seem like the fruits of your labour are entirely on your boss’ side, but getting that extra work experience is extremely important and not just anywhere – doing Marketing Internships London style will be a huge advantage to you, with both short term and long term benefits.
It’s true, the less downtime and cost an employer has to put into a new recruit, the better. Bottom line is that you’re an asset the company has to invest in, and the sooner you can give returns on that investment the better. Capitalism at its finest, but is that necessarily a bad thing for you? There are some people that are perfectly comfortable doing the bare minimum and coasting through life on “average performance” – after all, it’s a far less stressful way to live. That might be true, but the reality of never striving for more is that they’ll never achieve more. And if you’re looking to work in a metropolitan city like London, that’s not the kind of attitude that will lead to the best opportunities at the best firms.
If you want the most lucrative roles in the most prestigious companies, you have to show that you’re willing to work for it. Some of your fellow graduates might go and travel the world after getting their degree, and then tell exciting stories in interviews about how that makes them more all-rounded individuals, but if you spend that summer completing an internship, that employer is going to be far more interested in hearing what you learned and what you can bring to the table, besides awesome Instagram posts.
And let’s consider those aforementioned elements that the employer wants to see from you. More experience, more knowledge, more theory put into practice. That’s not just for them! When you get that first job and go out to celebrate, you must realise that the competition doesn’t end there. Yes, you’ve dived into the big pond, but you’re now in a sea of hungry-eyed guppies and it’s very much sink or swim. Your superiors will constantly be on the lookout for who achieves the most, who excels at the tasks they’ve been given, who hits their targets and stays on top of deadlines. If you go straight from Uni to a job, even if you are an exceptionally adept person, you are still going to be nervous, unfamiliar with corporate structure and you’ll be spending some time finding your feet and asking a lot of questions. That’s not a bad thing – everybody was new once and we all learn on the job, but those newbies that completed an internship will be several steps ahead of you. They might still be wearing their water wings, but they’ve already paddled out into the deeper waters and everyone can see it.
Completing an internship teaches you a lot more than just the practical aspects of what your job will entail. Going from education to a fast-paced professional business environment is a huge leap and one not everyone is comfortable making or gets used to all that quickly. You need to understand how to navigate professional relationships, learn how to negotiate, understand procedure and employer expectations, codes of conduct, peer review, team dynamics, handling difficult people and how to climb the ladder and put yourself in the best position for promotions. An internship isn’t exactly going to be a full-blown strategy program on how to ascend to glory and riches, but it’s going to open your eyes to this world and give you a crucial inside scoop so that you can start your new role prepared and on the right foot. Naivete is not an endearing trait when it comes to business and the only way to squash it is by watching, learning and improving – and an internship is the best springboard to set you on the right course and let you leap ahead of the competition.
Moreover, for industries like marketing and PR, these are not jobs spent exclusively behind a desk, crunching numbers. Forming relationships is key and you’ll be expected to network your little butt off to ensure that you’re helping bring in new clients, find effective collaborators and generally bring in profitable contacts. Without attending industry events and applying for additional work experience, you’ll be going into an interview knowing nobody. You might think that for a new starter this is understandable, but the truth is, that confident person you passed in the lobby waiting for their shot already knows some people – and they met them through their internship.
There’s nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain and if the experience does make you realise that the sector you thought you wanted to go into isn’t right for you – all the better! You can readjust your post-grad strategy without having lost a lot of time in a job you don’t like, you’ll still have gained invaluable professional experience and got a recommendation you can put to good use for the future.
So don’t hesitate and don’t let anyone “average” tell you it’s a waste of time. An internship in London will prepare you for the big leagues and help you get there.