The Complete Internship Guide: find it, secure it, ace it |

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The internship stage is one of the most crucial stages for a student, providing them with the perfect phase to ease into the working environment and prepare for the real world challenges. The duration of your internship varies for each education institution but most importantly cannot be taken lightly for its impact on your future. For the best results, three months is a recommended length – just long enough for you to learn, and for your company to benefit from training you.

Step 1: Finding the right internship

You can hunt for internship opportunities from recruitment platforms like Jobstreet, Indeed, JobsDB, and more. Alternatively, you can also check out social media feeds for companies you’ve been eyeing – sometimes they advertise internship or apprentice opportunities. Even better – if you know a friend who works in any of these companies, get them to help share your resume with the hiring manager.

Before you start applying randomly, it is crucial to understand how exactly is this internship phase going to assist you in your long term employment goals. Seek out companies where you know you can learn subjects which will further prepare you for the real working industry, particularly subjects not taught in class.

Where exactly would this be, you may ask. It differs and depends on what you seek from your internship programme. Small agencies and start-up environments provide the ultimate learning experience, however may not compensate lucratively. Big corporations provide a colourful embellishment to your resume experience, but may have a rather limited scope in work.

Step 2: Securing the internship

The next step into securing the internship is by preparing a mind-blowing CV and cover letter. Preparing a CV is not as easy as it seems. Always bear in mind that even though you want to highlight why you should be hired based on your strengths, you should also be careful to phrase these terms in a way that appeals to the hiring manager.

There are free webinars like Cuponation where you can find out tips on creating compelling CVs and cover letters.

In start up environments, there is a demand for technical knowledge, for example, in terms of performance marketing and SEO knowledge. One tip constantly urged by recruiters for freshies seeking internships is to equip themselves with basic knowledge in the form of Google-certified courses, online courses or SkillsFuture courses.

Most of the time, learning is conducted on the job but having basic understanding will help interns a great deal during the internship even if you don’t have the exact paper qualifications.

If your CV is attractive, you’ll be called up for an interview. The idea of the interview is to basically convince the hiring manager that you’re up for the job and in person, you replicate all the details embellished in your CV. This is also one of the main reasons why you should never take interviews lightly, be it in terms of a well-groomed physical appearance or a thorough research of your future employer. During an interview, you need to sound confident and independent, so try to avoid mentioning your parents (ie. “my parents think I should…”). Nailing these interview essentials might just help you secure that internship.

Step 3: How to Benefit from the internship

Those three months of your internship tend to fly by really fast if you don’t make the most of it. Keep these in mind during your internship period:

  • Take note of your daily activities

Keep a diary or project management app of your daily tasks. This helps you keep track of what you have learnt throughout the duration of your internship. From this you can evaluate areas of further growth and grooming which will definitely help you post graduation.

  • Be Proactive

Make full use of your internship period by being proactive; don’t just sit there and wait for instructions. Do your research and look out for opportunities to learn by participating in a team effort or new project. Keep your mind open – don’t show a sour face if asked to do a task you don’t really like – as this period is like the training wheels to the actual work environment.

Not only do you learn how to execute work in an adult environment, but you’ll also learn how to manage various types of people and their expectations. You may also discover that you have hidden skills, or are better at doing things that you thought you didn’t like.

  • Network and Referrals

The contacts you make during your internship period can go a long way. People remember a hardworking intern and are more likely to hire you for a full time employment or even recommend you for a different opportunity. Build your network during your internship days by keeping in touch and connecting with your colleagues on professional social platforms like LinkedIn. Connections are invaluable.