When I was studying in the US, internships for a stipend, course credit, or a combination of both used to be the ultimate surety of snagging a job the moment you graduate. Hence, the importance of internships. Now in India this trend is gaining popularity.
Interns are usually stereotyped as those who bring the coffee and act as assistants to their supervisors. That can be true but usually interns are those who get stuck with the most tedious or mundane of tasks like organizing the file cabinet, transforming files to digital files, sorting piles of research, and what not. Basically anything that can put you to sleep in the middle of the day. But at the end of the day (or internship period) you feel as if you’ve been a part of the organization. Chances are your efforts are noticed by those who do the hiring and by the time you graduate, you have a nice cushy job waiting for you.
That’s the ideal internship. Hence, the importance of internships.
However, there are unpaid internships too. And what’s worse is that most times your dream company seems to be interested in you for these internships only – the unpaid ones. This is all well and good if you are supported by your parents or legal guardian. Otherwise, you either have to decline or get a night job.
Either way, internships – paid or unpaid – are good for you. They look good on your resume and even if you don’t get to bag that dream job, you can always apply to similar organizations and the fact that you have some real-world experience can make a huge difference in the hiring process.
But you have to plan it properly. Don’t go for an internship in website development and then apply for the “Database Administrator” position. Yes, they are both in the IT department, but that’s it. That’s where the similarity ends. And the hiring managers are smart enough to not let your internship make any difference in their decision.
Whatever you are studying, first make sure you are super interested in the courses you take. Find your strengths and then search for your dream job position. Outline the steps to get to that. And then search for an internship. Don’t apply to all, just the ones that match your plan.
For example, if you want to be a Business Analyst, you want to start with Coder/Technical Programmer, then Senior Programmer, Technical Analyst and finally Business Analyst. This is a rough estimate of the path you have to follow, nothing concrete. Many organizations follow their own hierarchy of job positions. Research it for the top 10 companies you want to work for.
And once you do start on your internship, keep these things in mind:
1. Understand the hierarchy of the company you’re working for.
2. Keep a good healthy relationship with your supervisor.
3. Know the hiring manager(s) and try to figure out the hiring process.
4. Let your supervisor and others know you would like to work there permanently. Tell them.
5. Put in 100% effort in whatever task assigned to you and make yourself shine.
In conclusion, find the internship that can eventually turn into your dream job. Work an internship because you want to gain the experience, not because you’ve been chosen or someone recommended you. And by the time you leave the internship, make sure everyone knows how interested you are to work there permanently because of how much value you are going to add to the organization once you snag that permanent job position with them.
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