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Internships: What are They and How do They Work?

23 Jan 14 by William

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Definition of an Internship

Internship is often defined as an opportunity offered by an employer to potential employees to work at a firm for a fixed, limited period of time.  It’s going by a few names, such as, “work placement” or “industrial placement”


Internships provide real world experience to students looking to explore or gain the relevant knowledge and skills required to enter into a particular career field. Internships are relatively short term in nature with the primary focus on getting some on the job training and taking what’s learned in the classroom and applying it to the real world.


Internships are usually done by usually students in their second to final and final year of study. These students are normally known as “interns”. In some cases, university graduates who have not yet found employment.


Its Importance

Doing an internship has become a norm in this increasingly competitive nature of graduates employment market. Many students pay a lot of attention to doing an internship every time they can. Why?


Because doing an internship provides a great opportunity for prospective employees (i.e. students) to gain experience in a particular field or industry. determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain university course credits. Moreover, Interns may also have the possibility of putting themselves forward for forthcoming opportunities for paid work, i.e. getting employed in a permanent full time position. Finally, putting your internship experience will actually boost your CV as most of the time potential employers look for candidates that have been exposed to professional experience.

Types of Internship

Internships are divided into 3 categories. They’re as follows:

  1. Paid Internship
    It’s probably the most common type of internship out there, as most commonly found at engineering, legal, business (especially accounting and finance), information & technology, medical, science, and advertising sectors.


  1. Unpaid Internship
    The least common type of internship, this is still utilised by employers in the highly sought after professions, such as marketing and politics, demand that graduate level job candidates undergo a period of unpaid "work experience" before being able to get paid work. In most cases this "work experience" is actually simply unpaid work.


  1. Research Internship
    Usually known as “Final Year Internship”, it is usually undertaken by students that are in their last year of academic study. For a research internship, a student will undertake research for a particular company or a faculty. The company may have something that they feel they need to improve, or the student may be able to choose a topic within the company themselves. The results of the research study will need to be accumulated into a formal report and presented to the company and to the university institution the student is studying at.


The saying, “Practice makes perfect”, is directly relevant to the internship/job experience.  If you have successfully carried out an internship you have all of the necessary skills to do the same for employment.  When the time comes for you to seek and find your “Dream Job” you will be well prepared and groomed to get what you want in life.