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How to balance your studies with an internship

By Ashleigh Ho


Have you ever thought about complementing your studies with an internship? The Australian job market is going through a bit of a boom at the moment and there are many companies looking to recruit interns.

Read on to find out how internships can benefit you and how to snag yourself one.

Why are internships important?

  1. They help you transition from student life to working life.
  2. Helps you build connections with professionals.
  3. They may lead you to paid work. 

1. They help you transition from student life to working life.

Internships are a great way to help you transition from student life to working life. During an internship, you have the opportunity to put all that theory into practice, and gain ‘real-world’ skills that are relevant to your industry. 

Internships provide practical workplace experience to put on your CV – which will inherently make you a more desirable candidate when going for grad roles. 

Many managers are happy to be a referee or write a reference letter for their interns. That means that you won’t only walk out of an internship with more experience, you may also have a shiny new referee to talk you up when applying for jobs. 

2. Helps you build connections with professionals. 

team collaboration

An internship is important because they can help you build connections with professionals in their trade. Forming working relationships with your colleagues is extremely beneficial because you’ve essentially gotten yourself a bunch of experienced mentors. These are great people to go to when you have your questions about working in the industry or they can even help you find a paid job!

3. They may lead you to paid work. 

One of the biggest benefits of doing an internship is the potential to be hired for paid work at the same organisation. Many companies like to recruit internally as they already have an idea of a candidate’s work ethic and skills, so doing an internship while studying can be an excellent pathway to getting hired.

How to apply for an internship

There are many ways to find and apply for internships. You can look for an internship by:
  • Searching job websites such as SEEK or Indeed
  • Chatting with a career advisor or tutor at your school or institution 
  • Checking your school or institution’s job board
  • Joining an ‘internships’ Facebook group
  • Directly contacting a company you’re interested in working with
It’s important that before you start applying for internships, that your CV is in tip-top shape. That means you should update your most recent job history, fix any incorrect personal details, and check for typos. The appearance of your CV is also important, so make sure that the font size is readable. It’s also a good idea to get someone to proofread your cover letters and do some practice interviews with friends or family. It’s always better to be prepared!

How to balance your studies with an internship 

  1. Negotiate your working hours with your manager.
  2. Look into flexible study options.
  3. Make time for the 'fun' stuff.
  4. Get yourself a calendar.
  5. Be realistic with your time.
Sometimes, working an internship while studying is challenging. Here are some tips to help you achieve a nice work/study/life balance. 

1. Negotiate your working hours with your manager.

At the start of an internship, or even during an interview, chat with your manager about the amount of time you’re able to commit to an internship. This will help set clear boundaries and expectations for when you will work. This will give you time to hit the books, keep doing the hobbies you love, and spend time with friends or family. 

2. Look into flexible study options.

There are plenty of flexible study options out there where students can study online and at their own pace. Online classes allow you to gain the exact same qualification as an in-person institution – with extra benefits. You get to study from the comfort of your own home and at a time that suits you. Self-study is great because you can study at your leisure. Self-paced study can also help you excel in your time management skills.

3. Make time for the ‘fun’ stuff.

young people hanging out

It’s important that you factor in ‘play’ with your work and study. Make time for your hobbies, time with friends and family, or relaxation in general. It’s really easy to burn out if you're always going full speed ahead, so ensure that you make time for fun activities as they can be beneficial for your health and wellbeing.

4. Get yourself a calendar.

If you’re a visual person, using a calendar can help manage your time. By inputting your working and study hours, you can figure out whether you’ve got time in your week to head to the beach, have a drink at the pub, or do whatever your heart desires. 

5. Be realistic with your time.

As exciting as it is to be entering the workforce while still studying, it’s important to remember that you’re human and can only handle so many hours per week. If you're ever starting to feel burned out or overwhelmed, it may be time to cut down on a few hours at your internship, rethink your study schedule or cull a few hobbies. 

Chat with your internship manager or a teacher at your institution if you're struggling, you may be able to lessen your work or study hours.

Internships are super beneficial for students about to enter the workforce. But it’s important that you have balance when studying and interning at the same time. Online study can help you reap all the benefits of an internship and gain a nationally recognised qualification at the same time. So, head to Upskilled and start your career journey today.
 
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