Written by: Shivani Chauhan
Have you ever wondered that transitioning from school to college seems like a self-inking stamp for the start of your adulthood? This is inclusive of creating beautiful memories along with taking your first step towards the start of your work life.
Your life becomes a series of goals that you set and achieve while completing your degree. Taking this into account, an internship is an integral part that walks you through the experience of working professionally, and builds the foundation for your career.
Across the globe, students go to great lengths to gain practical experience, owing to the fact that it makes you learn more than you could have ever imagined. During the course of this brief time, you are not only exposed to the work culture, but it also teaches you how to adapt and develop survival instincts that are significant to remain relevant in your professional domain.
In the present time where we consume so much information on a day-to-day basis, that there might be million questions lingering in your mind. So here’s an easy guide intended to make sense of all those unprecedented questions along with providing some easy tips here and there about how you can fetch exciting internships while in college.
Let’s get started!
Find Your Niche
First of all, it’s vital to identify that there’s a fine line between your academic degree and the actual career that you take up. It just means that it's completely okay for you to be interested in an internship inside or outside of your college major.
How to make a sharp distinction between the two?
Weigh Your Options: While college is a place that is constantly heaving with a variety of individuals, it is also an apt time to ponder over your career choice. Make a list of all the plausible possibilities, chalk out a plan and figure out a way to get going.
If you are interested in the field related to your current course, then you could narrow it down to a specific job that you would like to pursue.
For example, if you are a computer science student, then you could go through internship prospects in fields like big data, software development, testing, etc.
On the other hand, if you realise that you have an eye for creativity and have a little hands-on experience in your field of interest, then you could choose to intern under an industry expert. Landing to your hobby internship would help building your portfolio and improves your understanding regarding the professional nitty-gritty.
Pro Tip: To achieve clarity of mind, you can go through probable job profiles and specifications related to your field.
Get Your Documents Ready
To land a good opportunity, you need a few things ready with you-
- A CV: Keep it short, well-formatted, and updated with all your skills. Add personal achievements that made you who you are today. Focus on positions of responsibility that you've handled, and your experience with managing any small (or large) project in a group.
- A Cover Letter: This has only 2 rules- it should be short and simple, and it should be interesting enough for someone to read. If you get these 2 things right, you're in!
- A List of Potential Employers: While this isn't a document you'd need during the hiring process, it is a good to have this ready for personal reference. List out all your potential employers, their contact information, and keep this as a tracker for you to follow during the whole hunting process.
Pro Tip: Focus not only on these documents, but also on your social media profiles on professional networking sites like LinkedIn and Goodwall.
Connect and Grow
Networking provides you a place of acceptance and support during the course of searching a suitable internship. How to expand your network? Well, you can categorize it into two ways:-
#1: Reach Out On-Campus: You can make the most of the existing resources available in your college campus. These could be your seniors, your placement officer, your professors, your classmates, or even your friends from other departments. These in-house college assets help bridge the gap between employers and students.
Pro Tip: Enabling connections with placement cell, seniors, professors, attending career fairs and seminars can help you getting proper guidance, references and recommendations for your internship.
#2: Tap Into Your Off-Campus Network: You can explore opportunities outside your college by widening your circle. In addition to your peer group, reach out to relatives and their contacts who can help in getting you aligned with your purpose.These people need not necessarily be your relatives- they can be people you find on communities online like 'job-search' Facebook Groups, LinkedIn, Goodwall, etc.
Pro Tip: Learn to communicate better via internet. Always be professional- have your CV ready with all your latest achievements, draft a good cover-letter, and keep your conversations simple and genuine. This helps you engage with people without the constraint of distance or boundary.
Learning is an ongoing process that helps you incorporate new ideas in your professional life. When it comes to landing internships, it's good to practice a lot of your learnings hands-on. Practicing and preparing for a job interview, going through your resume multiple times, researching about the company in advance are all the little things to be ticked during your preparation phase.
Pro Tip: Find a buddy who you can do these things with. Having a partner in your preparation journey will be a win-win for both parties, and you'll remain motivated to do this throughout your journey.
Remember, your career is the sum of the decisions you make, right from your college days. In order to turn probability into certainty of finding your desired internship, make sure to capitalise on your skills to gain competitive advantage.
Last but not the least, remember your venture into internship is majorly about getting a bird’s eye view of the corporate world. Money is the secondary criteria that shouldn’t stop you from seizing the right career opportunity that pushes you to surge ahead in life.
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