This is a post from graduates need not apply, with a video he recommended as well:
I’m lucky. One of my mother’s best friends happens to be the editor of a national magazine so, primarily down to begging, I am currently in the middle of a two-week stint as an intern.
This is definitely not the norm in the world of work. Not only is there the huge element of competition, but also those crucial six letters “unpaid,” which immediately throws the proverbial spanner into the works. Most graduates simply cannot work for free.
You can split graduates roughly into two categories, those who have moved back to the family home, and those who are living independently. For those living at home, unpaid internships can be doable given parental support (that’s how I’m surviving); no rent, bills, or high living costs, but for those who are not living at home, a lack of money entering the bank is simply impossible. On top of rent, bills and living costs some internships do not provide for travel costs; which, depending on where you live (London commuters know what I’m talking about), can make an internship financially impossible. My peak-time all zone travel card cost me £48 last week, a huge chunk of money for a graduate working for free. Luckily (I’m lucky after all) my travel costs are covered by my company. For those that aren’t as lucky as me however, this is a horrible situation.
For a lot of graduates, there is financially no way that they can take on an internship, leading them into the perpetual catch-22 situation; I don’t have any experience to get a job but I can’t get a job to get the experience.
The length and type of internship can also be an issue. I currently have a friend who is on a year-long unpaid internship (with travel expenses) at a major Opera company, and hopefully, by the end of that year they will have obtained enough experience to be able to apply for a paying job within that company. However, the reason that they are able to survive on this internship, is through the support of their parents.
As well as the financial impact long unpaid internships can have on an individual, there is also no guarantee of a job at the end of it. My parents tell the story of a friend of the family who, having left university, started a nine-month internship at a recording studio, unpaid, with no expenses. At the end of that nine-month period he was not offered a job, and was simply sent on his way. He had worked for nine months, completely free of charge, and were able to get rid of him because they were well aware that there were plenty of other people who would happily work for free, as opposed to someone who had the experience and now needed a financial incentive to both stay with the business, and survive.
Some would argue that the blame can be shifted on us (graduates); that we should have been gathering this work experience during our summer holidays. But many graduates had to spend their summers earning money to pay their bills for their student houses, negating the “golden,” opportunity they have supposedly missed. Students are just like anyone else who don’t work; terminally short of cash.
Internships can be an immensely useful tool. However, the financial issues which plague them make them impossible for many graduates, especially those who do not live at home and are having to provide their own living expenses. As for me, I’m actually not sure how to describe them. I want to call them a necessary evil. But I’m not sure about the necessary bit.