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Internships: Get a foot in the door and gain experience for your CV

Just like volunteer work at a non-profit organisation, an internship at a business can be a good way to gain new experiences and skills. It can also be a good way to get your foot in the door with a particular business or industry. It also gives you something extra to put on your CV, particularly as a recent graduate.

Internships are opportunities for you to gain insight into an industry and workplace that you may not be so familiar with. They give you the freedom to gain work experience and to build particular skills that are useful within a given industry and workplace. They can also give you the chance to get your foot in the door with a particular organisation or business you think you would enjoy working for.

As a new graduate and job hunter, there's no doubt that you have some wishes and dreams for your work life. You've probably also thought a lot about what you would like to have in your future career, such as ways to fulfil your professional ambitions.

That's why it's also important for you to know what you want out of an internship and to consider the reasons for applying for an internship at a particular place. Have a clear strategy so that you know what you want to get out of your internship.

Create an internship strategy

Before applying, it's a good idea to ask yourself what you want to get out of your time as an intern.
Be clear about why you're interested in that particular industry, those particular skills, and those particular experiences — and what you plan to use them for later.

Here are some good questions you can use to clarify what you want an internship to do for you:

Industry knowledge:

  • In what industry do you want to apply for an internship?
  • What will you use your newly found industry knowledge for?
  • How will you work to build experience in the industry during your internship? Will you be able to do that with an internship?

Skill development:

  • What kinds of skills do you want to develop during your internship (e.g., professional, personal, and/or relational skills)?
  • Can you describe your learning objectives for your internship?
  • What tasks would you like to work with during your internship?

Networking focus:

  • What kind of network do you want to cultivate during your internship?
  • Internal: within the business/organisation
  • External: e.g., business partners?

By answering these questions, you can clarify exactly how an internship will help you with your career. You'll also be able to write a better cover letter that focuses on how you can develop in the internship, and what you want to work with during the internship.

Unemployment benefits and insurance funds

Internships with unemployment benefits are available to all members of an unemployment insurance fund. Normally, internships last for four weeks, but recent graduates may have internships that last up to eight weeks. You can take on more than one internship, including within a single unemployment benefit period. However, you will still be searching for a job during your internship.

"For people who are highly educated, it's always about finding a good match between the job, the business, and the job seeker. That's why the best internships are always those where the graduate has found the business or organisation themselves and reached out", says Karin Rose Kolding, a consultant at the Masters' Unemployment Insurance Fund. "My best advice is to seek out whatever it is you want. But we're happy to help with things like reading over cover letters or offering advice on applying for an internship somewhere you recently applied for a job."

To take on and complete an internship, the business or organisation must be approved by the job centre, and the internship must be recorded in the job plan you create together with the job centre.

In general, internships are 37 hours per week. Other numbers of hours can also be arranged, but they must be approved by the job centre.

You'll receive unemployment benefits during your internship, and you can also apply to receive travel compensation.

How it works

The business must be approved by the job centre before the internship begins. For the business to be approved, its representative must sign form AB 131. The job centre will normally send this form to the business.

The job centre will also need the following information about the business:

  • Contact information for the business
  • A CVR number or P number. A CVR number is similar to a CPR (personal ID) number
  • The name of a contact, including the person's mobile number and email address
  • Job title
  • Start time, internship period, and weekly hours

During the internship, the intern will receive payments corresponding to the unemployment benefits they would otherwise be entitled to.

Contact MA

You can contact MA if you need advice about unemployment benefits.

Contact MA