Everything you Should Know About An Internship

By Andrew - Read time: 4 mins - 9th Jul 2018

Uni Life Life Hacks Study Tips

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Internships are now more and more common in Australia as a way of breaking into your chosen industry when you graduate. But are they worthwhile? Here we answer some of the most common questions about internships and let you know what to expect.

How do you get an internship?

Securing an internship can be a highly competitive process. In some popular industries such as law, digital technology, and journalism, winning an internship can be almost as difficult as getting a full-time job. You’ll need excellent grades, as well as a CV that demonstrates your enthusiasm for and commitment to the industry you want to work in.

Many students and graduates apply to large corporate businesses for internships – these companies often advertise for interns. However, it is also worth approaching smaller companies and even start-ups within your chosen field, as these can often provide you with an excellent introduction to your industry at a grass-roots level.

Should you be paid for an internship?

This is a tricky question to answer, but the Australian government offers guidelines about internships and whether or not they should be paid.

If your internship is part of your studies, it is classed as a vocational placement. As the company is offering you the experience you need to pass your course, they don’t need to pay you, unless they are expecting you to complete complex tasks that should be the responsibility of an employee.

If your internship is not classed as part of your education, then it depends on the nature of the work you’re expected to do whether or not you should be paid for it. If you’re shadowing a staff member or spending time in different departments to learn more about the industry, this is classed as an educational experience. The company doesn’t need to provide a wage as the internship benefits you more than it benefits them.

However, if they are expecting you to do work that would otherwise have to be done by a paid employee, then you should be paid for it.

What will you be asked to do as an intern?

This depends entirely on the nature of your industry and your particular internship. The purpose of an internship is to learn more about your chosen field and experience how it works day-to-day, to give you an advantage when it comes to applying for jobs. Some companies even offer employment to interns at the end of their internships. If they can’t do this, they should at least be willing to provide you with a reference.

As internships are learning experiences, they’re classed as entry-level positions. This means that a lot of the work you have to do probably won’t be very challenging. However, it should be relevant – if you’re expected to make tea all day every day, that won’t help you in your chosen field.

Make sure you establish at your interview what will be expected of you. You should be given meaningful tasks to do every day, which you can include on your CV. You should also receive feedback regularly from a manager on your progress.

What do companies want to see in an intern?

One thing all companies have in common when they’re looking for an intern is that they want the best candidate for the job. They want to know they are giving the opportunity to someone who is passionate about their industry, and wants to go on to achieve great things in it.

This is demonstrated first and foremost by your grades. However, any other relevant experience will help to set you apart from the crowd. Following and interacting with companies in your industry on social media can be a way of getting your name known. Blogging or vlogging about your chosen field can also help to establish you as a source of useful information and knowledge, and demonstrate how much you care about what you do.

You can also learn a lot from the experiences and perspectives of others who have gone down the same route before you. Their first-hand knowledge can help you decide whether or not you want to work in a particular field, and what type of internship you want to do.

At Thinkswap, we can provide vital resources for students, based on the experiences of previous graduates. Please get in touch for further information – we will be happy to help you achieve your potential.


Andrew is a finance guru and has been working in the securitisation industry his whole life. He has a passion for travelling and playing and watching soccer. During his spare time Andrew loves spending time with friends and family.



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Read time: 4 mins