Internships are a great way of gaining experience, building your network and figuring out what you do and don’t enjoy working on. However, as they’re fixed term (usually between six and 18 months), you may find yourself stressed about the future when you think of your internship coming to an end.

We caught up with Ilhan, who was in a similar position as a new graduate.

After graduating with a degree in Management in 2017, Ilhan undertook a 12 month Manchester Graduate Talent (MGT) internship with the Careers Service at The University of Manchester, as a Vacancies and Events Graduate Intern.

Fast forward two years, he is now in the second year of his graduate scheme with EY as an Assistant Tax Advisor, and is working towards his Association of Tax Technicians qualification (ATT).

How did you find your graduate internship?

I really liked the atmosphere… everyone was so nice and kind and really helpful, especially when I started and had no idea of how my tasks should be handled.

When did you know that you wanted to change roles?

This is a tricky one as my contract was a fixed one for 12 months. So, I knew that I do have to get another job at the end of those 12 months. I sort of knew that I wanted to go into Financial Services, so this was the main driving force when I decided to change my jobs.

How did you go about looking for new jobs?

This was a very challenging period but I was lucky at the same time thanks to my role within the Careers Service – the nature of my role allowed me to see every single job advert that was posted on Careerslink (now CareerConnect). Everything that I was interested in, I was making note of the reference and applying when getting home as I still had access to Careerslink(now CareerConnect) as a graduate.

Other than Careerslink (now CareerConnect), I knew the organisations that I was targeting so I just checked their careers website and applied directly.

Did you find it difficult to write applications and prepare for interviews when you were working full-time?

Considering that I was working a 9 to 5 job, the only time left to prepare for interviews was in the evenings and weekends. As I was applying for graduate schemes, there were plenty of stages that I had to go through so for a few months my time was only divided between my job and applications related stages: psychometric tests, video/telephone interviews, assessment centres. It requires a lot of commitment, but it was worth it in the end. In terms of preparing, I did online mocks for my psychometric tests and video interviews.

As well as working in the Careers Service, did you use any of our resources to help you secure your graduate scheme?

Careerslink (now CareerConnect) helped a lot in terms of keeping me up-to-date with the roles that were available on the market. As employers knew that those adverts that they were posting on Careerslink are specifically for students and recent graduates, they sometimes added extra information on top of what was advertised on their own website and that was really helpful as well.

I could definitely say that having access to Careerslink (now CareerConnect) after graduating is a huge benefit that everyone should really take advantage of.

You moved from working in Higher Education to working in tax – how do you feel about changing sectors?

I am definitely happy that I made this move – the sector that I am in now is much closer to the career path that I want to follow. Additionally, being a very fast paced role, I constantly learn a lot and further develop the skills that I acquired so far.

Did your graduate internship provide you with any transferable skills that you could bring to this new sector?

The role itself was really good in terms of my development – I learnt how to multitask and organise my time. My prioritisation abilities have developed a lot as I had a set amount of tasks to deal with every day, but at the same time I had to deal with enquiries from employers via email and phone in relation to advertising roles for UoM students and attending our careers fairs.

Have these skills that you developed during your internship helped with your current role at EY?

I know that the skills I developed whilst in this role are definitely helping me at my current job as everything is moving at a higher pace and the abilities that I acquired as part of the Careers Team are crucial in getting everything dealt with in good time.

Finally, what advice would you give a recent graduate who is coming to the end of their internship and wants to find another graduate role?

Start looking for something else that you would enjoy doing or being part of. I believe that the first few years after graduation is the most appropriate time to try different areas and then settle for something that you like.

However, changing your job after just a few months again and again might not be a good sign for future employers that you are targeting so I’d say spending a minimum of 12-18 months in every role would be better and more beneficial in terms of future career prospects – it shows commitment and desire to develop.