An internship is an excellent opportunity for you to link what you are learning in your studies to real life situations. It is also a good opportunity to build on and develop some of your skills. In some cases, internships can be used to help you decide on or opt out of a certain vocation, or even change your studies or educational path, or indeed, see what other opportunities lie within the sector.
It is never too early to start your first internship. In fact, the sooner you start, the better prepared you will be for your first job.
To ensure that you are maximising your chances of finding your dream internship, we recommend 5 things you need to know before starting looking for it
1) Have a clear idea of what you want out of an internship
Think about why you want to do an internship and what benefits you want to get out of this experience.
If you are doing an internship to test-drive your future career, you might want to use this opportunity to familiarise yourself with the industry and the responsibilities, or to expand your network for future work opportunities.
If you are still unsure of your career plans, you might want to use this experience to gain insights into the professional world.
Maybe you want to try out a country, perfect a language….
2) Internships help you find out what you don’t want to do in your life
You need to diversify your internships. This way you can discover what you are passionate about before you fully enter the professional life. Otherwise you can waste two or more years of your life working in the wrong field.
3) Your internship can lead to a job, but your focus should be on learning
If you are in school and you have few years to go, your focus should be on learning. Learning about the industry, learning about what excites you about a particular job and what you don’t like. And learning any hard skills that may be necessary for the job. The internship may lead to a job once you graduate, but learning should always come first.
It is also an opportunity to see the ‘real word’ and experience workplace politics and to have responsibilities and test drive your stress tolerance.
4) Sometimes Unpaid is worth it
Not always, but if you want to prove yourself to a company that doesn’t have a position for you, doing the unpaid internship for a month or two to prove yourself is a viable option. The goal is to make them believe that they won’t be able to grow without you if you end up leaving. If you get to that point, they will need to make you an offer and bring you on full time.
You have the opportunity to show them the advantage of adding a youth into their team from a speed, technical capability and global perspective angle.
5) How do get the internship of your dreams?
Finding an internship can be easier than finding a full-time job, but not always, it mostly depends the field you’re searching for.
Make sure your social networks are up to date and reflect who you are. Your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Instagram must be appropriate because your prospective employers are watching.
When you have a blog and you are creating content, if you have something compelling to contribute, people will find it valuable.
Networking is the most important part of the internship search, make sure you attend networking events for the industry you are looking for. Look at the leading companies and the individuals that can help you. Once you have your list, start sending you CV and an introduction, write them a concise and powerful email about who you are and why they should hire you as an intern.