What is an Internship?
An internship is a unique opportunity offered by an employer to interns, to work on a project or assignment for a fixed tenure. Interns are usually undergraduates or students. and Most of the internships last for 1 week to 12 months. It could be on site, desk work, back office, field visits, etc. It can be paid or unpaid depending on the terms and condition set by the employer.
When and Who should do it?
Traditionally internships are a compulsory component of any full time post graduate course from most of the universities worldwide. For past couple of years several colleges & universities are making it mandatory for their students at undergraduate level too. The courses are designed in such way that students are asked to submit a report or a project on the basis of their experience while they were interning. Some universities even have a stringent grading policy for pursuit of internships and submission of reports thereafter.
Ideally vacations are a great time for this. Since most of the universities have two long breaks – Diwali vacation (for 1 month) and the summer vacation (for 2 months), students can choose some ambitious projects or assignments in companies on full time basis. Students may have to work anywhere between 30-40 hours per week.
All those students who have morning colleges generally get free by 12. They can think of pursuing some part internship opportunities post their college timings. A word of caution here – Undergraduate courses come with lot of assignments, presentation, projects, class tests, etc. One should factor in these before any commitment is taken up.
Why should you do Internships?
- University/College/Course mandatory requirement
- Exposure to corporate world
- Structured valuable work experience
- Building of new skills/perspectives
- Opportunity to apply class room concepts
- Enhances resume
- Increases confidence
- Possibility of a full time job
Where to do internships?
If at undergraduate level students have chosen their specialization ranging from Finance, Banking, Accounting, Insurance, Marketing, HR, etc then students should choose such specific industry only. Not all students may get top notch firms of any industry. Multinationals, mid-size firms, startups, local businesses do provide internships.
One needs to ask few questions before they commit as intern
- How many offers do I have in my hand?
- Am I willing to travel 2-3 hours (both ways) for work purpose?
- Am I getting paid?
- Will I be given employment or internship certificate by the employer?
- Work profile and its quality?
- Brand/Image/Goodwill of the firm?
- Does the work interests me?
- Does it coincide with my chosen specialization?
- Duration and timings
- Willingness of the firm to offer full time placements post graduation
- Networking opportunities
- Does it add value to me?
Of course one can’t be so choosy about internships as there are very limited opportunities out there. Companies many a times are not willing to take up interns for a short duration of 2-3 months. Do consider the above points before you zero down your options.
How to get good internships?
Contacts-Contacts-Contacts! Use contacts of your parents, siblings, cousins, relatives, friends from your college, friends from other college, seniors, teachers, etc. This will be most of the times a reliable way of securing the opportunity. Several online firms like Lets intern, Twenty19, Intershala, Make intern, Hello intern, Inter world, Let me know are some of the popular destinations offering internship opportunities. Most of them offer free of cost services. There are some placement agencies one can approach. One may have to pay some flat fee to some placement agencies. Colleges too offer internship as well as placement contacts.
When to apply?
This depends on your tenure for vacation, college exams, any plans for travel, etc. Ideally One should start applying 15 days before commencement of exam. Work on updating resume and an application. Some companies insist on application written on the college letterhead. They may need NOC in some cases. So once your exams are done you may have some interview calls to attend. Generally, keep at least one moths’ time in hand before you apply for internships.
Few tips for successful internship experience
- Update your resume before you send them. Personalize it as per the work profile & company that you apply
- Prepare well for interview. Have an appealing answer for the first cliché question asked in most of the interviews – “tell me something about yourself”
- Wear formals for interview and thereafter too
- Do not use social media while at work
- Be punctual
- Never have lunch alone. Lunch is a good time to interact-network with colleagues, seniors, etc.
- Avoid using slang
- Do not be afraid to ask any work related query
- Seek feedback regularly
- Do not misuse company resources
- Be confident, be proactive, be alert
- Don’t forget to enjoy this valuable experience
So get ready for a power pack experience, and wishing you all the best in your journey from Class Room to Board Room.