What’s an internship?
An internship is an often short-term opportunity provided by employers across most areas of the business. The chosen candidate is typically expected to work for a limited period of time in order to gain experience in a particular role and sector.
Internships involve a variety of work from business as usual to project-based assignments. Depending on the nature and type of the business, internships can sometimes be unpaid. The duties required of an intern generally come with less responsibility and expectations; they are considered as more of a learning opportunity as well as an introduction into the industry and running of the business. And this is where the possibility of interning could be viewed as problematic – particularly if you’re a transitioning officer accustomed to a stable wage and way of life.
But before you allow the concern of an unpaid internship to dissuade you from accepting a potential job, it is important to recognise just how valuable and worthwhile it can prove to be. Once you decide to embrace an internship as a career investment, the results achieved can far outweigh the issues that a lack of salary (or low pay) often suggests.
Why, after a successful stint in the Forces, would an ex-officer opt for an internship?
It goes beyond just getting a job – how will you know if the role you decide to accept post-transition is the right one for you? Establishing a network of connections, friends and mentors before embarking on your new career will help to ease your mind of any uncertainty about where you are headed next. An internship can alleviate this worry by acting as the beginning of a professional network that could aid the success of your chosen career.
Military life provides a structured environment that may not have prepared you for the civilian world you’re about to dive into. To be successful in a role, ex-officers will need to have gained on-the-job skills and experience, so an internship can help you to kick start the process without requiring any long-term commitment; internships give you the chance to gain specific industry knowledge that can fast-track your new career.
Finding an internship that suits you
‘Recent research revealed that 60% of paid internships turn into a job offer’
Like any job search, it won’t be easy. You will almost certainly face hurdles and although you’re never too old to intern, employers are typically looking for young ambitious candidates they can mould into tomorrow’s talent. Overcoming the stigma of hiring managers who possess this particular mindset is a challenge but the good news is that there are a growing number of companies out there who recognise the potential that transitioning service personnel bring.
Leadership, management and decision-making abilities are just a few of the skills that ex-military personnel can put into practice, and many organisations appreciate that a short term offer for industry exposure will help to leverage these competencies and eventually secure you a career in your chosen field.
Organisations such as J.P. Morgan, Schroders and Goldman Sachs offer corporate internship programmes created specifically for ex-military personnel. Sometimes lasting for up to 6 months, these comprehensive industry-focused experiences are often paid and a great way of evaluating whether this line of work is the right fit for you.
If a particular role/sector appeals to you and has not advertised for an intern, it’s worth approaching. Why not be proactive and inquire about the possibility of an internship becoming available? After all, it’s not only you that will benefit from a short-term role. Internships offer employers the chance to gauge your workmanship and observe whether you could be a good fit for a more permanent role in the future-without committing to an offer straight away.
It’s important to recognise that many employers will want to hire you for the position of an intern based on the skills they know you can bring.
Learn more about internships and their value across the finance sector with our on-demand webinar.