Every undergraduate/ postgraduate student aiming to get a taste of the real world is striving to answer this one question – how to get an internship?
With jobs and industries becoming more competitive with each passing day, fresh graduates must get a fair amount of real-world experience before going all in.
If you are looking to get an internship, we tell you some tips that will go a long way in helping you.
How to Get an Internship
1. Be clear about Specialization.
The first step to get an internship is to be clear about your end goal. At the start of your career, it is not unnatural to try to juggle between specialties and experiment with different streams of a profession. It is precisely how you will learn about your strengths and capabilities and find your calling.
However, it is advisable that as you move forward in your education, you give yourself a clearer picture of your end goal. This will then help you pursue internships or projects in that very field itself and gain a better experience.
2. Network, Network, Network
For a successful career in any profession, people need to know you. This is where the art of networking comes into play. It would help if you strived to network with people in your professional circles. These are people who will handhold and teach you how to get an internship and open new doors.
Ideally, your existing circle is an excellent place to start networking; however, for people living in a different city or our functioning remotely, you can also use social media to strike conversations.
3. Be active in Student/Alumni Groups.
Alumni and student groups in any college or university is an invaluable source of references. In today’s competitive era, recommendations matter a lot when looking for a dream internship. It makes a big difference to your overall profile if an employer can build a connection with you. Thus a reference helps in this by becoming a bridge between you and the prospective employer.
While for freshers, recommendations can be challenging to get. However, becoming an active part of college committees and groups will help you interact with alumni, most of whom are looking for interns. Being always in touch with your peers and alumni will also help you gain useful insights on how to get an internship and any new opportunities.
4. Customized Resume for each Job Opening
A resume is an essential document for a job seeker. It is the first impression that the employer will have about you. Hence, you must show your prospective employer exactly what he wants to see. It is commonly said that one size doesn’t fit all; one resume cannot be sent to multiple companies or organizations. Every company is different, with a different set of expectations and different job profiles. Thus, you must tailor your resume carefully, keeping in mind the requirements of each organization.
For example, if you are looking to get an internship at a law firm, you must first research the law firm’s practice area thoroughly. Then customize your resume to suit their needs. If the law firm is looking for a human rights lawyer and your resume explicitly spells out your experience in capital markets – you may not cut. Hence, you should always ensure your resume speaks precisely what your employer wants to hear.
5. Set Goals
Goal setting is an integral aspect of every profession. Even when you’re pursuing your journey on how to get an internship, you must set long and short term goals for yourself. These goals can be anything from how many companies you want to apply to in a day or how many people you want to network.
While it is essential to approach organizations for an internship continually, you should also aim to fulfill your personal goals on time. This will help you stay organized and motivated throughout the process. It is also a wise move to set a target date till which you have to secure an internship and work towards that goal diligently absolutely. This will help you keep your focus intact and avoid any distractions.
6. Be Ready to Learn
One of the primary motives for getting an internship is to learn something new. Hence, you should make sure you cultivate in yourself the attitude to learn. You should make yourself malleable to different situations and be ready to process the information on the go.
When you are in an actual office scenario, there is very little time to be taught anything – hence, you must develop a self-learning habit. At the same time, you should try to learn from your peers and surroundings as much as possible. An attitude to learn always works with prospective employers, and they always recommend such individuals for internships.
7. Always be on the Lookout.
When you ask yourself – ‘how to get an internship,’ you often know the answer – ‘look for one.’ If you are looking for an internship, you should always be alert and agile. It would help if you were quick in responding to any available opportunities and make sure you are vigilant about any future openings that can open.
Again, networking will play an essential role in finding new openings. If you plan on interning for a longer duration, you should make sure your hunt for internships is on even while you’re already at one job. This will help you save time between two successive courses and ensure your learning does not stop.
8. Ask for Recommendations
Even if it is just an internship, employers like people who have the credibility to support them; his credibility provides your profile an edge over other job seekers. It gives your employer the impression that you can be taken seriously.
You can ask recommendations from your existing professors, bosses, supervisors, or even some respected individuals who can vouch for your work. Suggestions are an excellent way of enhancing your resume and making you stand apart from mundane applications.
9. Don’t Aim for Overachieving.
While it is good to set goals for yourself, please make sure these goals are realistic and achievable. You may have the potential to learn and grasp many things, but if you don’t do it properly, it may drop you in a lurch. Hence, it would help if you focused on the tasks you are good at avoiding being an overachiever.
If you try to be an overachiever, it may give the employer the impression that you are over smart and know too much. This can be very off-putting and hinder you from getting that dream internship of yours. Thus, you should focus on your capabilities, play on your strengths, and not try to oversell yourself.
10. Work on your personality
Last but not least, a good personality is an essential quality to possess. It would be best if you came off as a confident individual who is willing to learn new things and has a strong knowledge of the theoretical aspects of learning. A pleasant and imposing personality works on an employer and clients – and will help you in impressing your peers. Along with a strong character, a positive attitude is also one vital tip that you should remember when looking for an answer to how to get an internship.
Internships can be intimidating for some. Securing a course can be quite an uphill task, especially for somebody who has professional linkages or references.
In a world that is continuously looking for more practical experience, getting an internship can give you that exposure that can make you break your hair out. However, you need not worry anymore. This guide on getting an internship will help you prepare yourself for that big job and develop your resume and personality to make an excellent first impression.
Though you must note that these steps are indicative and preparatory, there are many other ways to reach your goals. It would be best if you thus continued working passionately towards succeeding, and there is a 100% chance in no time you will be on that job that you have always wanted to be.
You can also check out our limited-time free courses to utilize this lockdown to upgrade yourself.
Why should one do internships?
Internship opportunities are becoming an essential part of the college experience for all students. They provide practical experience to beginners and give them an experience of how things work in the real world. The most important element of internships is the integration of theory with practical application and skills. Internships give you the benefit of professional recommendations, resume-worthy experiences, networking opportunities, and in-office meetings. They let you gain an insight to the kind of career you wish to pursue in the future. In many cases, students undergo internships to learn the soft skills needed in the workplace and leadership positions.
What are the common challenges faced by interns?
Ans: There are certain common internship challenges that interns face. Sometimes, they are not assigned enough work and feel underutilised. Other workplaces may take advantage of young workers by giving them very long hours of dull, tedious, and repetitive work. Another challenge faced by interns is that they are afraid to ask questions and may feel the pressure to be independent and self-sufficient workers whereas it is, in reality, better to clarify uncertainties. Sometimes, supervisors also forget that you are new to the field and give you projects that might be beyond your capacity or learning requirements too.
What are the most common skills an employer wants in an intern?
No matter what your major or prefered industry is, employers look for a core set of skills and traits when considering applicants for internships. Communication is an essential skill companies look for. Employers are majorly interested in your ability to read, write, and speak professionally; these skills give you an edge over your peers. Plus, time management, adaptability, critical thinking, research and analysis, and technical proficiency are other common skills an employer looks for in any intern.