8 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Looking for an Internship
"By the end of the internship, you would know whether you want to create a career in that industry or not."
Love your work, else it is not worth doing!
Mr Shashank Murali, founder and CEO of Tapchief, suggested this to me when asked for one piece of advice to give to anyone looking for an internship.
An internship is one of the most crucial points in the executive life of any budding professional. The race might be smoother for the students of top colleges, mostly because most of us are unable to find what we love as easily!
It was last winter when Facebook updates of my friends from the ‘privileged’ colleges were boasting of their summer locations, interning with some fine brand. I was a little scared.
Indeed, very scared.
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The initial days of my journey saw me getting seen and rejected-zoned.
Over the span of time, I realised that it was not just me but most people around me who were unable to make it right. This was not because they were under-skilled but simply because they lacked basic know-how. In a bid to bridge to this gap, I wrote to some industry experts and successful students seeking their advice.
Before we begin, here’s what the recipient of Forbes 30 under 30, 2017 and Co-Founder of YourDost, Mr Puneet Manuja had 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!
1. Start early
You do not find the internships a week before the commencement date. Put it on your to-do list at least six months in advance. 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 you decide to take up a longer internship.
2. Build not just a resume/CV
Take note: ignore the approval, build the skill set!
In the 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. The crux: “while your skill is the king, your resume is yet the doorman”
3. Define your domain
We try our hands at different things in the 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.
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4. Write down your expectations from an internship
The COO and co-founder of NutrifyMe, Mr Prince Kumar urges you to ask a 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 important to note what was said by 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.
Founder and CEO of NextBigWhat, Mr Ashish Sinha, responded to my tweet along the same lines:
DO IT FOR YOURSELF!
5. Do not hesitate in seeking contacts from people
While there are a few websites which help you enrol for the internships, I will suggest 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. Remember that it is okay to seek contacts to enter the work space but at the end, you need to prove your own worth!
6. Exploit social media right
One of the most common mistakes made by numerous students is to ignore the power of social media. In the words of 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.
7. Your application is your final gateway!
This is the most important takeaway. Your application is not random content but a conversation you have to strike!
Be humble but market yourself right.
Make your application look like a mutual benefit. Seek something and offer something. It has to look like a bilateral offer where you wish to add value to the brand.
Your email must have an artistic approach to make an impact.
And writing the mail is an art you need to develop through practise!
8. Rejection maybe inevitable but failing is not!
You will not hear back from some, will be rejected by many but that is inevitable. But how much 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, for which company. You need to be thorough with your network!”
Learn from previous rejections and keep assessing your graph of learning and growth all this while.
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 internships 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 have a successful career, an internship must be the top item on your to-do list. It can change your life.”
Written by Himanshu Poswal. Originally published here.
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