THE first step is to drop that funny/ naughty e-mail ID and get one with your name, as your email ID as this is probably the first thing an employer will see. Two, check e-mail regularly and see that you attend to phone-calls professionally. Pat Lynch, President, Business Alignment Strategies. Inc, USA, who helps students gain internships, articulates an employer’s frustration rather well. Must-read:How will an internship help me? “Too often I see students dressing sloppily, and not displaying common business courtesy Big mistake! Employers often use internships as a commitment-free way of seeing what kind of worker a student would be,” she shares. This thought is further echoed by Dr. Raj Raghavan, HR Leader, GE John F Welch Technology Centre, who is responsible for the internship programme at GE. “The passion to learn and the desire to want to make a difference to the company are two critical differentiators that we look for in interns.Don't miss! Tata Second Career Internships for women
Company and role Think in the direction of which industries and job functions interest you and build a rÃ©sumÃ© that highlights qualifications, skills and strengths. Your cover letter must be ‘employer focused’. Indicate you have been through their website and the various ways you can contribute. The very fact that you have taken the time to think about it can impress an employer. Bhooshan Kelkar, Country Manager of IBM India, University Relations suggests, “Focus upon application-oriented thinking or any out of the box experiences you have had. Whether it is a robotics camp or an IEEE membership, they expose you to new experiences and prepare you for the tough market, which is only getting tougher. Yu Yu Din, a digital marketing manager with EmployWise, Gurgaon highlights a problems faced by students. The primary challenge in India is the mindset of employers. She advises students to ‘highlight your willingness to learn’, and encourages them to look at internships with small businesses. “They tend to be more open to internships/trainee programmes than large ones. Companies in the creative sector such as PR and advertising firms are also more open to internships than traditional businesses,” she adds.Don't miss! HR/ finance/ retail internships with Barclay's Bank, UK
Search tips The easiest way to search for internships is to register yourself with your college’s career guidance wing and checking available internship vacancies. Many websites such as www.eastchance.com and www.theihs.org have many positions advertised throughout the year. Keep a tab on them. Approach the companies that interest you. Dr. Raghavan shares, “Many of our internship opportunities are regularly advertised in the GE Careers webpage with details on the programme. Other companies, for instance, have dedicated links to internship sites, which provide details on the various types of assignments, location of the internship, stipend details etc. ”IBM on the other hand mainly advertises their internships through the Training and Placement Offices, states Kelkar. Since, many new age IT companies offer a host of opportunities, setting up a LinkedIn profile and mentioning that in your cover letter makes lots of sense. Pankaj Ingle, who is pursuing a PG Diploma in Management (RM) at K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, Mumbai has a well developed LinkedIn profile with 200 + connections. Pankaj, who did his summer internship at Onida where he worked on the brand perception of their microwaves, also got his Professor at the institute to recommend him.Don't miss! Research internships with Centre for Civil Society
Will it pay? Internships generally are unpaid. If you manage to get a paid internship, good luck to you. But even if an internship is unpaid it can be a great way to add weight to your rÃ©sumÃ©. Weigh it against what else you can be doing with your time and how you will benefit from it. Also, unlike in a job, with an internship you must focus on choosing the one that gives you the maximum learning opportunity. But negotiating a good stipend also does not hurt.
What should I do?A great rÃ©sumÃ© which focuses on what you have learnt and achieved so far in college is a great starting point in your internship hunt. Have a one-page easy-to-read concise rÃ©sumÃ©. Avoid large blocks of text and use headings, different fonts and columns to highlight your points. Plus good interview skills. Remember, there could be many who are interested in an internship.
The last word Many firms do not advertise for internships. Most of the opportunities are filled in based on word of mouth publicity. So there is no harm in leveraging your personal network to gain an appointment. But if you want to be treated professionally you must eventually make a well-thought-out professional impact. Who knows, you may land up with a job offer at the end! INTERN'S EXPERIENCE
Faizan Patankar's 12-week internship turned to 15 months!I often get asked how to get an Internship? And my answer always is, keep applying and keep trying! I did a year in industry placement with Scottish and Southern Energy, the second largest power generation company in the UK. Now, what worked for me when I got my placement? I applied to a total of 76 companies and being a guy obsessed with data I was crazy enough to keep a count of it. Got through to the next stage of 13, reached the final stage of interviews for five of them and finally, one placement. The whole process started in January 2009 and I got a placement offer in July 2009. I started applying for companies via the online application form and with time my mind started to get into the groove, I realised I could answer a particular question differently, the more I applied the more words started falling into place. With practice and rejections, I realised what mistakes. During the final interview the employer is interested in you and just wants to know if you can carry yourself well. Every time I was rejected I asked for a personal feedback and improved upon it. Then in the interview I was calm and composed, smiling whilst answering and talking and expressing positive energy. A good few months into the job, I asked why I got and this was the response: I was flexible on moving for work, my answers showed that I had done my research well, I was a social person, had other activities on my CV and used them to my advantage whilst showing soft skills. Extracurricular activities are very important; they make you a balanced person. My company searched my name online to check I hadn’t got anything ‘stupid’ online, so it is of paramount importance that a person’s online image is clean. With Facebook and Twitter, people should be careful of what they post. My internship experience helped me improve my business communication, made me more aware and appreciative of the selection process and understand the vacancy requirements clearly. Now, what about unpaid internships? Personally, I am against them. I realise the effort I put into my work and as much as I respect the experience we all live by materialistic goals. I have been lucky to be in a field where a paid internship in UK is the norm. But I have to admit that in some industries an unpaid internship is the way in. So, a student must reviews the pros and cons, on a case by case instance. For instance, if a BBC offers an unpaid internship, then it’s worth looking into as it is a good employer to have on your C.V. Let me share an important hint to those looking for longer internships and placements. If there is an offer of 12 weeks and you are looking for six months or more, then my advice is, get the 12-week thing going, do your best, so much so that the company realises that you are an asset and if you want to carry on they would work it out somehow. I did it – got in for 12 weeks and got out with 15 months of high quality experience.
The author is Director, Career Track.
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