A study shows that for as many as 60 per cent of the college students who are working as paid interns, the internship leads to a real job offer. In some international companies, up to 40 per cent of the entry-level positions get filled by former interns. For unpaid internships, the percentage of job offers is much less. The main reason why paid interns tend to get job offers is that they are more likely to be involved in conducting some important tasks in and around the office, whereas the unpaid interns are mostly involved in minor clerical tasks.
In today’s tough economy landing up with a job is not an easy feat, especially if you are a fresher from a middle level college. Most students have to spend months filling up forms for job interviews. What students really need to do is get an internship. An internship is probably the best way for a college student to test the waters in a variety of career fields and gain real-life experience.
Here is a list of ideas that you need to keep in mind to find the right kind of internship and make the most of this position:
Finding an internship
There is no dearth of websites that will guide you on the ways by which you can find a suitable internship position. Many colleges are running programmes to direct their students to suitable internship opportunities. You can also use your network for discovering new leads regarding internships. Speak with teachers, family, friends – anyone and everyone you can think of.
Like it is with real jobs, the most coveted internship positions are very few in number. There exists a large crowd of students vying for few of these internship positions. So if you want to bag that position, you have to be well prepared. You should go through the company’s websites and speak to some of its employees to know what they are really doing. You have to be fully prepared before you set off to face the hiring manager.
Types of Internships
For best results, the students should plan their internship search just as they would plan their job search. As internships can be paid or unpaid, it is important to check with the company before you join. In many cases, you get academic credits instead of a stipend. However, you will get academic credits only when the college where you are studying has approved the particular internship. The internship sponsor must also agree to supervise and evaluate the internship experience.
Kind of internship
The internship that you go in for should not depend only on the stipend or the academic credits that you may get, it should also be linked to the kind of work that you will have the chance to do. For achieving long-term career goals you should go for internships that require substantial amount of hard work. You can talk to other students who have done internships with the company to find out how the work atmosphere is like.
Behave like a regular employee
Companies expect a certain degree of professionalism from the interns that they employ. You have to stick to the company’s dress code and you have to be on office on time with everyone else. Treat everyone you meet with respect and leave your personal life at home. You should become acquainted with the company policy on personal emails, phone calls, and Internet use to avoid any awkward situations.
Meet with your supervisor and lay out projects you would like to tackle and skills you would like to master by the end of your internship. Be sure to keep your supervisor abreast of your work and accomplishments by checking in frequently and making sure you are meeting his expectations.
When you see a project in need of a worker, raise your hand. Don’t over-extend yourself, but do take on as much as you can handle. Just in case, you do not have enough work to do, you can ask your supervisor if he has any additional work that they can provide you with.
Your goal should be to win over the confidence of your supervisors and employers. You can do this by showcasing your interest in developing new knowledge and skills relevant to the position. Showing enthusiasm and offering to attend workshops or seminars will increase your understanding of the business and will make a favourable impression on your supervisor.
As an intern, you are expected to be eager to learn about new ways of doing thing. You should go out of your way in sponging for information. Don’t be shy about asking for clarifications on assignments, and don’t pretend to know something you don’t. The more questions you ask, the more enthusiastic you will appear for the job.
An internship is also the time for you to really expand your network. At the place you are working as intern, you can make friends with senior colleagues and bosses. You can also form bonds with your fellow interns. All these can turn out to be valuable job related contacts for future.
The end of internship should not become the end of your relationship with the company. You should stay in touch after the internship concludes. Do write a thank-you note after you have finished work, and send casual emails every couple of months to maintain your contacts.