As a student, landing yourself an internship is perhaps one of the most crucial stages of your “career” as a student. It poses as a rare opportunity to provide you with the ideal exposure and preparation to ease into the working environment later on. Depending on your institution, the duration of your internship can vary but it can still have an impact to your future.
To this, we say: let us help you in finding the perfect internship experience through our easy-to-follow internship handbook. Some of the steps that we touch upon include - where to find open internship opportunities, how to gear up before applying for an internship, and the do’s and don’ts so that you can make the most out of your time there!
Step 1: Find the right Internship
Before you start applying, you first need to come up with a brilliant plan to organise the preparations and course of actions you would have to do. One helpful suggestion is that you create a clear idea on what you wish to achieve during the internship period. With enough time to think this through, it would help you to make the best choice in enriching your employment goals. Seek out companies you know can learn a few handy skills and experience from to further prepare you for the real working environment, particularly on matters that are not typically taught in your lecture halls.
So the question now is, where exactly can you find these experiences? It really depends on what you hope to gain from your internship programme as well as the organisation that you are hoping to get accepted as an intern at. Small agencies and start-up environments provide the ultimate learning experience here, however, they may not compensate you lucratively for your contribution. On the other hand, big corporations can provide a colorful embellishment to your resume experience but there is a possibility for a rather limited scope in the work you will do.
You can hunt for internship opportunities from recruitment platforms like Jobstreet, Wobb and Indeed. Alternatively, you can also check out social media feeds of recent activities of the companies you have been eyeing for - sometimes they advertise vacant internship or apprentice opportunities. You may even speak to your university’s department head since they may oftentimes know of companies on the lookout for interns. At the same time, knowing a friend who works in any of these companies to help share your resume with the hiring manager would be a saving grace here as well.
Step 2: Secure that Internship
The next step into securing an internship position is by preparing a coherent CV and cover letter. Trust us, preparing a CV is not as easy as it seems. Always bear in mind that even though you badly want to highlight why you should be hired based on your strengths, you should also be careful to phrase these terms in a way that appeals to the hiring manager. Find out more about some of the best practices in creating excellent CVs and cover letters by participating in Cuponation’s free webinar.
The rule here that most candidates are not aware of is that having sent a fantastic CV and cover letter doesn’t completely guarantee you an internship position. However, if your CV has been shortlisted among other potential candidates, the hiring managers may call you up for an interview session. The idea of the interview is to basically convince the hiring manager that you are up for the job and in person, you replicate all the details embellished in your CV. This is also one of the main reasons why you should never take interviews lightly, be it in terms of your physical appearance or even your familiarity of your future employer and the company.
Step 3: Make full use of the Internship experience
The three months of your internship can fly by really fast if you do not make the most out of the opportunity. Here’s a look at a few things to keep in mind and practice during your internship period:
Take note of your daily activities
Keep a diary or project management application for instance, Asana of your daily tasks. This helps you keep track of what you have learnt throughout the duration of your internship. From this, you can evaluate crucial areas for further growth and improvements to help you in the long run.
Don’t be shy, take the reins!
Make full use of your internship period by being proactive. Do your research and look out for opportunities to learn by participating in a team effort or new project. Stay open-minded even if you are going through a hard time over a task at hand because it will train you to be more familiarised to the almost similar condition of the working environment. Not only will you learn how to execute work professionally, but you will also learn how to manage various types of people and their expectations.
Make the connections
The contacts you make during your internship period can go a long way. People will remember a hardworking intern and are more likely to hire you for a full time employment offer or even recommend you for a different opportunity. Be well prepared to fully use your networking skills during your internship period by keeping in touch and staying connected with the other employees on professional social platforms like LinkedIn.