Note: This article is intended for Undergraduate Internships, but it’s sure helpful for graduate/any form of Internships as well. Enjoy! :)
There is never a bad Internship, I daresay. No matter where you have it, be it a start-up, non-profit,multi-national company, small company (the list goes on), what’s most important is making the most out of the experience. Small companies might give you the best internship experience and give someone else a seemingly bad one, what matters the most is that YOU end up in a place you want to be, either small or large, and this onus lies on you!
I never had my Internship in a large company, I had it in a start-up! Yes, start-up! You want to know why? It’s a simple answer — I knew what I wanted! And I must say that I had a very amazing and fulfilling experience. This is not to discourage you from applying to large organizations, this is just me sharing you my personal experience.
Securing an Internship placement can be as daunting a task as seeking for a job opening. Often times there are available opportunities, but it’s either you are oblivious of them, you are not qualified enough or for some reason, I forgot to mention. How then do you avert this? How can you be the golden thread that would be picked amidst other threads? Follow these steps and strategies for success.
Step 1: Know What You Want!
This is you performing your due diligence. Trust me, I actually applied for the Oil and Gas Industry Internship, albeit, but I was not shortlisted due to reasons I don’t know. So, don’t think I dislike large organizations. No, I don’t. My question to you, what do you want? If you can answer this question early enough, you have solved a large percentage of your problems. Not only will this streamline your focus but also relieve you of unnecessary stress of sending multiple emails to organizations where you truly wouldn’t want to end up, if you were to have a taste of .
There are several ways to discover what you want and who you are, if you are a spiritual person, it can be as easy as asking God to reveal who you are to you and if you are not, simple deep meditation or evaluation of past experiences and finding what you like in future projections can reveal this to you as well.
After you have known what you want, next up, is to have a list of companies that can offer what you want. For example;
Emmanuel loves anything tech, he would love to have his Internship at a reputable tech firm where access to the Internet is free and open to Interns. Of course, there are a lot of tech firms but he wants anyone with access to the internet. Only he knows why he wants that but I can guess that he probably has so many online courses to complete and he sees the internship as an avenue. Your choice can be based on, money/stipends, geographical location, and what have you. It can just be anything, just search within to know what you want.
It’s fine to have a list of preferences(internet access tops mine), but there should some flexibility in your list to avoid unnecessary disturbances in case you end up getting accepted by a firm that doesn’t have all you want! The list’s function remains to help you narrow your search to organizations that fulfill some and not necessarily all of the criteria.
That said, In scenarios where you been selected by multiple firms(congratulations :) ), comparing and contrasting the forgone alternatives, seeking advice, and making your research would help in making an informed decision.
Step2 : Do You Have What It Takes?
Inasmuch as we have the freedom to write out a list of preferences, unfortunately, we don’t have the power to get ourselves accepted into an organization. Alright, yes you would like to have your Internship at organizations with the following criteria, but, do you have the required skills (and probably connection) to intern at such an organization? Don’t judge a book by its cover they say, here is when you need to make your researches about the organization before applying.
I’ll recommend you make good use of LinkedIn and email, connect with current employees of the firm, strike up a conversation with them, let them know you are willing to have your internship in their organization, tell them what you can do, your career goals. Luckily for you, they might reveal to you some reasons why the organization would not or would help you in your career and professional development even right before applying, they just saved you from otherwise having a bad experience. You are going to learn a lot of soft skills in this stage, trust me. You’ll want to learn how to construct emails and strike up professional conversations, how to make your resume stand out. This site would help with designing a beautiful resume and this article would give you some helpful tips on how to structure a resume. You should also study some strategies to scale through the interviews if needed(you’ll know from your research if an interview is part of the application process) and prepare for tests.
Internships are competitive, applying to several organizations can increase your chance of getting one. Send a cover letter with each application or pay a physical visit to the organization — It shows the employer that you are committed and serious about the opportunity.
Conclusion and What next?
If you took all the steps above and you got selected congratulations! Once you land the internship, be open to being challenged, learning new skills, and sharpening old ones. Being the first to jump in when needed will show you’re proactive and leave a positive impression on your employer that may be helpful after you graduate. Internships play a crucial role in one's career and professional development, so take it seriously! And I wish you good luck!
If you don’t know what you want,you see everything you do as the right thing to do,you see everyway as the way.One of the ripple effect of this, is the waste of your precious time.
Wow, I’m glad you made it to the end. I’m deeply grateful to you for reading my article, I didn’t take this for granted. If you find this article helpful, kindly give a clap, share with your network and leave a comment if you have something you feel I missed out. I’ll be glad to entertain any questions as well.
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