Internships give you the opportunity to experience the professional world. When done well, they help you understand more about your field of study.
One truth is, most students don’t want to be idle during an internship. For graduate internships, this is a good primer for building a wonderful career though it’s been abused as an avenue to make people work for peanuts.
In any case, a student or graduate has to position correctly to secure an internship position.
In today’s post, I’ll be looking at practical steps to help you secure an internship. Doesn’t matter if your dad owns a conglomerate, you’re self-sponsoring your way through school, or thinking about how to get an internship with bad grades. These steps will cut across different spheres and apply to both undergrad and grad.
Get your materials ready
Do you have a resume? What about a cover letter? Are your degree certificates/school ID cards available? Imagine getting interviewed for an internship only to tell the interviewers you are yet to get your statement of result. This does not help your cause.
Make sure you have your CV handy. There are countless posts on writing a good CV or cover letter. Find them, use them.
Know what you want and start early
To go on a journey you have to know what you want and tailor your efforts accordingly. This saves you valuable time/effort. Don’t be aspiring for an HR intern position while chasing opportunities in real estate marketing.
Then you have to start on time.
Graduate internships are usually announced all year round. In any case, you should watch out for the November – April window where a greater number are announced for both undergraduate and graduate. Start as early as possible close to the end of NYSC or before finishing semester exams for undergrad. There’s no time to waste.
Start reaching out to your contacts
Networking is an important step in the search for internships. “Connections” as we call them here remain a prime way for people to get jobs. Sometimes the loose network we have are what gets into the door of companies who are not recruiting openly.
Hopefully, you’ve built a strong web of contacts over the years. If you haven’t, it’s never too late to join an association or just be friendly and strike up conversations with people. You never know where the information you need will pop from.
Get on the internet
Check for companies of interest. Cold email them, get the phone numbers cold call, Make a list of relevant companies, comb through them individually. Check job websites, forums, LinkedIn, Facebook, even some WhatsApp messages. Anything to get your message out that you’re available for work.
Go old school, take a walk around town
I have a friend who worked in an oil-servicing firm for 6 months as an undergraduate. He did not know anybody at the company beforehand. What did he do? He said he walked and dropped his CV. To be honest, he didn’t put much thought to if it’ll go through but he had to give it a shot anyways.
There’s always a chance to get that dream internship if you apply. You only miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t take.
Bonus step: LinkedIn anybody?
Get a LinkedIn profile.
It just screams professionalism. Let it be well-written with a decent picture to match. Recruiters often scour the social media profiles of applicants. Sanitize your Facebook and Twitter if need be or just change the name if it can’t be helped. If you’re a social media hermit, great. As a professional, LinkedIn is great and can be kept relatively private.
Doing the above will definitely increase your chances of getting an internship position. Of course, you need a huge dose of favour to balance everything out. Happy hunting.