Internships- Why, when and how to go about it?

If you’re a school/college student, I’m sure you have heard of the term “internship” quite often. As soon as you enter college, you start getting plenty of advice from your seniors, family and friends about the kind of internships that you should go for. People start looking for links in various companies where they can intern from and your summer and winter breaks are mostly spent working as an intern.Internships are a golden opportunities for students to learn and grasp as much as knowledge possible.

So let us take a quick look at what an internship is and why exactly it is important?

Internship- what is that?

When you’re done with college and looking for a job, you are pretty much clueless as to what exactly you will be doing. Let’s say you are majoring in English and you’re not sure if you want to become a news broadcaster or a freelance writer. You are confused between these jobs as you don’t know either of them intimately. How could you solve this problem and be a little more certain about your future? This is where an internships steps in.

Internships are part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid, on-site or virtual experiences that prepare you for your future. They can be related directly to your stream or the subject you are majoring in or they can be related to your career interest. For example, in the above situation you can try to intern from a media group to see how that feels and then try your hand at freelance writing. It helps gives you some certainty and confirmation about your job or subject choices.

Why should I go for an internship?

Some people think that they’ll learn the ropes of the business once they are done with college and are actually working. Now, this thinking is applicable to those people who want to be closed off from other career options except the one they have chosen.

Internships provide you with work experience. They give you a taste of what you will be dealing with if you go down the road that you have decided upon. They also let you explore other career fields of your choice. You interact with different people and develop useful contacts in different fields. You also learn the true value of team-working and work ethics.

Moreover, if the internship is a paid one, it can help you out with tuition fees and other expenses. It develops a mature nature and responsibility. You learn the value of hard-earned money.

How and where can I get an internship?

The first place you can look for an internship is in your university itself. Several colleges have internship programs that you can look into. You can ask your university teachers and get in touch with the placement in charge.

Apart from that, you can browse the internet and go through some specific sites that have the listings of various internship offers. You need not jump headlong for the first opportunity that you come across. Take your time and decide carefully before applying. Be sure to look up the company that is offering you the job. You don’t want to be deceived by con companies.

Time, time, time! When should I start?

Remember the saying “an early bird catches the worm”? Well, this is one situation where this saying is perfectly applicable.

If you are in a 3 or 4 year course program, when should you apply for an internship? 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year? Well, the answer is that you can go for it as soon as possible as it will give you time to explore various options that can help you in your career choice. You can let the 1st semester be as you will busy adapting to your college life and managing your course load but the 2nd semester is a good time to start working.

Ideally most students opt for internships during their summer or winter break so that they can give their full attention. But this is not strictly necessary. Internship opportunities are available throughout the academic year and if a student is capable of handling both college and work side by side, he can opt for it. But even if you want to work during the breaks, make sure to apply before as the numbers of seats are limited.

Salary, certificates and work-hours

As mentioned earlier, an internship can be paid or unpaid and if they do pay you, the salary varies according to the job requirement. Similarly, some companies provide you with a merit certificate once you are done with your internship. All these details are mentioned along with the internship offer. Go through the list carefully and then finalize.

Your work hours depend on the kind of internship that you might opt for. According to the job requirement, your work hours may vary from 2-8 hours a day. It also depends on whether it is a full time or part time internship. Some jobs are more flexible and you can work according to your course-load and class hours. When the college is in session, students should try and limit their working hours to 20 hours a week so that it doesn’t affect their studies.

Explore the abroad options!

Several agencies have overseas internship options that students can avail of. So if you are ready to go abroad for an internship for say a month or two, don’t lag behind. Collect all the information you can. It will be an interesting experience as you will get to interact with people from a different culture.

Prepping up for the interview:

First thing you should accept is that internships are like real jobs so you have to take them seriously. Similarly in order to get accepted for the job, you have to undergo an interview to prove your merit. These interviews are not too tough but it is still a good idea to have answers prepared for some basic questions. Here’s a list of questions that you most likely might be asked:

  • What are your interests, passions, likes and dislikes strengths and weaknesses?

  • Your major and interest in the stream taken in college.

  • And why did you apply for the particular internship.

These are the questions that you must have an answer to. If you are prepared beforehand, you won’t hesitate or flounder and thus will come across as smart and confident. Keep your answers short and precise. Don’t brag or exaggerate.

Common mistakes students make:

  • Resume- When you apply for a job, the first thing that your employer sees is your resume. And this is what most students don’t pay attention to. Your resume should list your qualifications and interests accurately and precisely. Have your seniors go through it so that if you have made any mistakes, they can be rectified.

  • Plan of action- Before applying for a job anywhere, you should have a proper plan of action in mind. Be sure of what you’re looking for and think about your decision before you accept anything.

  • Confidence and rejection- If you apply for a job and don’t get it, don’t be disheartened or discouraged. Analyze your mistake and then apply again to another job, keeping your mistake in mind this time.

  • Time- It is very important that you know the art of balancing time and having a priority order. If the classes are in session, you shouldn’t let your internship affect your studies.

It is time for you to gear yourself up and look for some internship offers. Start early so that you can have an advantage over the others. Be sure about what you want and try to have fun while working.

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