Things someone told me before looking for an internship

(This article includes words and advices from 9 different people including the likes of:

· Mr Sarvesh Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Internshala

· Mr Shashank Murali, Founder and CEO of Tapchief

· Mr Harsh Snehanshu, Founder and CEO of YourQuote

· Mr Puneet Manuja, Founder and COO of YourDost

· Mr Ashish Sinha, Founder and CEO of NextBigWhat

· Mr Prateek Shah, Founder of Digital Defynd

· Mr Prince Kumar, Founder and COO of NutrifyMe

I will like to extend a vote of thanks to these gentlemen. A big thanks to Mr Siddharth Tanwar, Mr Arjun Prasad and everyone who helped in making this article a reality.)

image credits: studyandwork.com.au
“I have managed to do the little that I have merely because of my obsessive love for building beautiful products which can create real value to its users and hence my one advice to the students would be: Love your work, else it is not worth doing!”

This is an excerpt from my conversation with Mr Shashank Murali, founder and CEO of Tapchief who was suggesting ONE advice to the students looking for an internship.

An internship is one of the most crucial points in the executive life of any budding professional. While the race is smoother for the students of top colleges, it is tougher for the students of other institutions. This is majorly because most of us are unable to find what we love!

It was last winter when Facebook updates of my friends from the ‘privileged’ colleges were boasting of their summer location interning with some fine brand. I was a little scared.

Okay, very scared!

The initial days of this journey saw me getting seen-zoned and rejected.

Over the span of time, I realized that it was not just me but most people around me are unable to make it right. This was not because they are under-skilled but because they lack basic know-how. In a bid to bridge to this gap, I wrote to few industry experts and successful students seeking their advice.

This text is a work incorporating their advises and learning from my personal experience. I have offered 8 takeaways which, if adopted right, will definitely help you succeed in your quest.

Before we begin, read what the recipient of Forbes 30 under 30, 2017 and Co-Founder of YourDost, Mr Puneet Manuja has to say:

“Take the maximum risk during the internship. Choose the option/ industry/ experience you aren’t sure if it suits in the longer term. By the end of the internship, you would know whether you want to create a career in that or not. It is much better than switching or cribbing about being stuck in a wrong job or field later. ”

Here we go!

Start early

You do not find the internships a week before the commencement date. Put it on your To-Do list at least 6 months prior. While our system wants us to go for the industrial training as a penultimate year student, it is advised to take one as a sophomore irrespective of your course. It will expose you to the industry a year before.

Build not just a resume/CV:

Most of us run madly behind the certificates to increase the bullet points in resume/CV. Take a note: ignore the approval, build the skill!

In words of Mr Harsh Snehanshu, founder and CEO of Asia’s fastest growing writing app YourQuote, Your CV is the most useless thing you could send while applying for start-up internships.

However, I will still refuse to rule out the importance of a resume. It still happens to be your chance of making the first impression. Once, I received a rejection mail from an HR asking me to work on my resume. The crux: “while your skill is the king, your resume is yet the doorman”

It is mandatory to define your domain

We try hands at different things in initial days of our college which is a must! But there comes a point when you need to define your domain. This helps you recognize your expectations from your internship. To excel, you need to learn and to learn, you need to be aware of your own demands.

If possible, write them down for your own reference. It is essential for you to recognize your own worth and writing it down will help the cause.

Write down your expectations from an internship

Did you define your domain? Great!

Now figure out your demands. The COO and co-founder of NutrifyMe, Mr Prince Kumar urges you to ask few questions to yourself.

“What skill set do I wish to build through this internship? Does the offered internship help me inch closer to my goal?”

Once you are able to satisfy yourself with answers to these questions, it is the time to listen to the Asia’s leading digital marketing trainer and founder of Digital Defynd, Mr Prateek Shah:

“Do not do it for money, do not do it for brand, do it for the learning!”

Internships are more about you. They help you recognise your true potential. It is for you to determine the extent of learning in this span of 6–8 weeks of summer internship.

I tweeted to the founder and CEO of NextBigWhat, Mr Ashish Sinha asking the same question and guess what did he say?

You see that both these advises from the experts convey the similar message: DO IT FOR YOURSELF!

Do not hesitate in seeking contacts from people

“Where do I apply?”

While there are few websites which help you enroll for the internships, I will suggest you to not to solely depend on them. Approach your seniors; ask for help from the professionals in your circle!

Most of the people consider it below their esteem to ‘seek’ contacts. Mark that, it is okay to seek contacts to enter the work space but at the end, you need to prove your own worth!

Exploit social media right

One of the most common mistakes made by numerous students is to ignore the power of social media. In words of Mr Arjun Prasad, an ex-intern at Pepsi and current student at IMT Ghaziabad:

“Nothing is too small to be a lead to get an internship. You have to be ready to grab every opportunity to learn because this is like accessing the workplace internet.”

It is called social media for a reason. It stands for your personal brand! Start working on creating an active community and interact with the like-minded people.

In my journey, my social media helped me grow the network. My Instagram prompted few travel start-ups to approach me while the activeness on Quora, Facebook and Twitter attracted many industry professionals.

Your application is your final gateway!

This is the most important takeaway of this practice. Your application is not any random content but a conversation you have to strike!

Be humble, market yourself right and ignore boasting.

Make your application look like a mutual benefit. Seek something and offer other in this mail. It has to look like a bilateral offer where you wish to add value to the brand. After all, it is not the company which picks you but you have to pick the company too!

For this, your email must be an artistic approach to make an impact. And writing the mail is an art you need to self learn!

Rejection maybe inevitable but failing is not!

This brings us to our last takeaway. You will not hear back from few, rejected by many and that is inevitable. But how much do you learn and how quickly you hit back makes the difference.

To counter this situation, target marking is the best strategy. Siddharth Tanwar, an ex-intern at Texas Instruments India, IIT-K alumni and a master’s student at UIUC, USA, further clarifies:

“Be informed on what you have to prepare for which company. You need to be thorough with your network!”

Mind you! You need to learn from previous rejections and keep assessing your graph of learning and growth all this while.

I will end this article with a word from the founder and CEO of Internshala, Mr Sarvesh Agrawal:

“It is okay to be confused about your career while at college. Think of internship as a test drive for your career to clear that confusion. A meaningful internship can help you discover your passion and launch your career. It would help you grow professionally and personally as you get to learn, network and experience the corporate world even before you graduate. If you are a student with a fire in your belly to make a successful career, an internship must be the top item on your to-do list. It can change your life.”
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