How can I find an internship in Europe? This is something many of us are asking ourselves at this time of year. Why should I do an internship? Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have a clear understanding of why an internship can be great for you, tips on how to make the most of an internship and HOW to get a summer internship for 2018!
I’ll start off by saying what I’ve learned are the two most important things about internships:
- Experience: For your employability
- Test-driving a job: Do you want to do this for the next 5, 10, 20 years?
Let’s dive right in!
Internships in Europe
There is an abundance of internships in Europe and a variety of reasons for you to do an internship abroad, just a few are:
- Experiencing life in another country
- Continuing your workplace learning
- It looks great on your CV
Let’s take a look at why so many people choose to do internships abroad and why it could be great for you to do a summer internship abroad in 2018!
Internships in Europe for English Speakers
As we discussed in an earlier article, English Speaking Countries In Europe, there are over 370 million English speakers in Europe so it stands to reason that internships in Europe for English speakers are the most numerous followed by German, Dutch and Nordic language speakers. Demand gets a little less intense for Central and Southern European languages and generally, the Eastern European languages have a lower demand still.
WHY Do An Internship In Europe?
- Stand out from the crowd
- Learn the role without the pressure
- Test run a career or industry
- Language skills
TO STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
Workplace competition is more intense than ever with new graduates entering the competition pool each year. Doing an internship and adding relevant experience to your CV as a young person can help you stand out and make recruiters take notice of you!
Just picture it, the interviewer is sitting across the table, holding your CV, asking about your experiences, what sounds better, that you spent 6 months working in your local shop or 6 months in Berlin and learned a ton about your industry?
- LEARNING WITHOUT THE PRESSURE
Everyone knows that interns are here to learn, they’re not the most experienced staff members in the company and so management and co-workers adjust their expectations accordingly. So while it can be hard work, you won’t be expected to be running high-pressure board meetings or be responsible for the department sales in your first week!
It’s important that as someone without a ton of experience, you get the time to adjust, to learn how the workplace…works!
Use the time to ask questions, learn everything you can about your chosen field and get a thorough understanding of your role and industry. Once you become a full-time staff member the pressure is ramped up and even though maybe you were an intern just one week ago, a lot more is expected of you and people will be surprised if you don’t know the answer to a question or are unable to complete a task!
‘TEST RUN’ A CAREER OR INDUSTRY
When I first graduated I undertook a six-month internship in Renewable Energy which was a great learning experience, however, I quickly realized it was a job that provided almost no freedom. So whilst I learned a lot, I would need to find a different position that would allow me to travel while I work and now I’ve found an industry in which all I need is a Wi-Fi connection and pretty soon I will be able to be writing on the beach in Costa Brava!
This wouldn’t be the case if I had jumped straight into a permanent, full-time job and I would have felt reluctant to let the company down if I left, so USE the time to find out if this industry is for you!
There are a ton of internships in Europe for English speakers but quite often doing an internship abroad will help you improve your foreign language skills. Even in countries where a lot of people speak your native language, it’s relatively easy to pick up the local lingo, making you an interesting candidate but also an invaluable resource should your company ever need someone who speaks the language you learned during the internship!
While internships for English speakers are extremely common, this does not mean your other language skills won’t be useful as there are many translation internships or language internships and like many, these internship offers are exclusively for bilingual or multi-lingual candidates. A friend of mine is working at a non-profit helping children across the world. She has made herself invaluable to the company director as she speaks a language the director does not, allowing to her converse with other organisations that the director cannot.
Undertaking an internship abroad allows you to experience a whole new way of life, would you like to go on a morning run past the Eiffel Tower and continue along the river Seine in Paris? How about spending a weekend exploring the mountains of Catalonia then head into the bars of Barcelona? Or maybe you would enjoy a nice relaxing few hours reading a book on Cala Goloritzé beach in Italy?
It’s a chance to have a life that many people dream about but they either don’t know how to achieve this goal or they’re not yet feeling brave enough to take the first step and so those experiences will always remain a dream.
Moving away from home can be a daunting prospect and I completely understand if you are feeling apprehensive about doing it. Living at home provides a safety blanket where you can still get your parents to help with things you’re not quite ready for whether it be cooking, cleaning or dealing with bills.
Doing this alone really helps build confidence, in my own experience, these challenges quickly stop being scary and instead it becomes a simple part of everyday life I barely think about now. This led from me being a shy person with no friends and no job when I arrived to having a good job on the path to doing something I really enjoy and spending many weekends camping up in the mountains with my dog and a great group of friends or going out for beers in the evening, enjoying the sun and having a better time than I had in my comfortable life back home.
For many of us, the opportunity to spend the summer in a new and exciting place is so much more exciting than working in your hometown for 3 months slugging away to get those college credits or something relevant to stick on a CV.
Can you really resist a summer internship abroad after that? Maybe you're not convinced...So, why else should you do an internship abroad? Networking.
University lecturers always stressed the importance of networking, but it was something that made me nervous and I thought that if I simply do a good job then I will get noticed. Sadly, this isn’t the case.
Interviews and Jobs are often given to people who already have a connection with the company. Maybe a friend or former colleague works there or someone influential can put in a good word for you. But what if you’re like me? A lot of us have no family connections who can help, friends aren’t in any position to help either and having only recently graduated you aren’t well known in the industry?
You have to do some networking for yourself. Networking can take place at conferences or meetings but sometimes just being in the workplace means you meet new people.
I had ZERO decent job offers for months while I was actively searching, but since I began my new job, updated my skills and met new people, I’ve had to field TWO concrete offers as well as turn down several interviews including one with a huge multinational leader in the financial field – and I’m not even looking anymore!
So put yourself out there!
With unemployment in the UK at 3.9% and that figure rising to 4.1% amongst graduates aged 20-24 it's clear we have to do something to set ourselves apart from our more experienced competitors. Summer jobs for students could be the thing that gives you the edge!
Isn’t It Just The Same Job For Less Money?
Understandably people can be dubious when they first come across the reimbursement for internships, but the thing is, if you’re looking at internships it’s usually because you lack the experience to get a permanent job. An internship is your ‘foot in the door’ of a company, a chance to demonstrate (and improve on) what you can bring to an organisation.
How Can I Find An Internship?
TOP 5 TIPS TO GET AN INTERNSHIP FAST!
- Optimize your CV
- Register with Europe Language Jobs
- Add recruiters on LinkedIn
- Look the part
- Contact companies directly
1. Optimize your CV
This point I’m about to make is very important: your CV might be the ONLY opportunity you get to impress.
I know it sounds frustrating but you really do have to tailor your CV to the specific job, it only takes about 5-10 minutes! Work in relevant experiences that could be beneficial, let’s say you’re looking for a job in finance, but you’re a recent graduate so your CV is looking pretty blank, what can you do?
TOP TIP FOR A CV WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE MUCH EXPERIENCE:
Just because you weren’t Head of Accounting at Deloitte doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer, do you do your own budgeting with your student loan or wages? Do you enjoy it? What did you learn? Simple things like this that can be related to a job can really help!
Hiring managers will generally be impressed that you’ve thought about the day to day of the role and are able to discuss aspects of the job rather than simply ‘I’m a hardworking team player blablabla’. This made an enormous difference to my applications, companies do not hire people for the sake of it, they want someone to fill a gap in their company so demonstrate how you will add value to the company, RELATE YOUR EXPERIENCES TO THE JOB. You can check out some more CV Tips for an outstanding resume here.
2. Register with Europe Language Jobs & Find an internship FAST
Let other people work for you. Why scour the internet for weeks and months for vacancies when you can go straight to a group of people who have done that for you? Europe Language Jobs collates job offers from all over Europe and puts it together on one easy to navigate website, saving you hours of fruitless searching ‘find an internship in London’ (or Paris) if that run along the Seine sounded good to you!
You can do a simple search for ‘Internship abroad’ or ‘Internship in Barcelona’ and get thousands of results, but you have to consider the quality of job offers. Internships in Europe for English speakers are in great supply, with companies desperate for English speakers (aswell as German, Dutch and Nordic speakers). If you’re looking for an undergraduate internship don’t hesitate, register, get yourself a summer internship and head to back to University with a bunch of new skills and experiences!
If you’re looking for internships for international students for your final year abroad, once you’ve registered you can search for internships by location, industry and language allowing you to narrow down your search, only see relevant results and get an internship FAST!
3. Add recruiters on LinkedIn
This one is pretty self-explanatory, it’s all part of networking, if you have a killer CV to upload to your LinkedIn profile and you connect with 200-300 recruiters, if just 1 likes your profile it could lead to you getting the opportunity you desire!
4. Look the part
Get yourself a smart suit or business attire, companies are becoming more relaxed about dress code in recent years but that’s not to say they’re looking to hire someone with dirty trainers and holes in their trousers! Be clean, smell nice, have a friendly smile and a firm handshake, all these things are little ✔’s in your favour!
5. Contact companies directly
It might be the confidence it takes to do this or the personal touch, but companies often enjoy a candidate coming directly to ask about vacancies, leave a CV etc. It puts a face to the name instead of another faceless CV, it’s another way of networking but be careful, not all companies appreciate this approach so you must take this into account when thinking about ways to find an internship!
A downside to this approach is that contacting each company individually is so time-consuming that job hunting can turn into a job itself. This is why I recommend you sign-up to Europe Language Jobs, your CV and thousands of vacancies are stored in one place so you don’t have to fill out hundreds of different application forms and spend the entire day searching, instead you can spend just 10 minutes on the site on each day.
Types of Internships: Things To Be Aware Of
A big factor in whether you decide to apply for an internship is the company you will be working for, what kind of reputation do they have? But when we’re talking about the type of internship there are three main types with regards to compensation:
Ok so we can all see that if you can get it, a paid internship is the best option, but remember to consider the company and what your duties will be, an unpaid position in a different company could be better for you long-term when you consider your duties and how employees are treated.
Whenever I came across an advert asking me to pay a fee I had one thought, run away. I have no experience with this kind of internship but I simply don’t see any reasonable cause for paying for an internship. In my research for this article, I’ve seen that companies offer tutorship and help with accommodation in exchange for this fee but my personal feeling is that this is simply not worth it, but you have to find what is best for you! If you are concerned about things like finding accomodation, setting up a bank accounts, healthcare etc (all the boring but important stuff) be sure to check out our series of relocation guides! An all in one for everything you need when relocating to a new country, we currently have a thorough relocation guide to Germany & relocating to Spain and we'll be adding relocation guides to Greece, Portugal & the U.K. in August!
An internship can go a long way to helping you get past one of the biggest problems facing young people in the workplace, a lack of experience. Just a few months of relevant experience can help put an end to those rejection emails that we all suffer from, especially early on in our careers.
So if you want to find an internship in Europe, the number one best thing you can do is to get your CV in order and register with Europe Language Jobs and see what opportunities are available to you in some awesome companies all over the continent and take the next step to building your career while having amazing experiences abroad! Be aware that requirements for CV's in different countries have different requirements so be sure to check out our article CV Advice: European resume VS UK resume!
How successful your internship is depends a lot on the company, your colleagues and importantly your manager but the most important factor in deciding whether your internship is a success, is you.
You have the biggest influence over situations in your life so remember to be a sponge during your internship: WATCH the people who know what they’re doing, ASK questions for clarification and TAKE the initiative to try them out yourself! If you do these things you should complete your internship with a great deal more knowledge about your role and industry and maybe even a permanent offer!
Don’t forget to let us know what you think: did you get some helpful tips? Did we miss anything? If you liked this article be sure to check out our cheat sheat for what recruiters are looking for on your CV!
I hope this article has been useful in advising you on how to find an internship in Europe, now go and register to find your summer internship FAST!
May 9, 2018 by Dan