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A beginner’s guide to internships

Planning to apply for internships? Here’s a ready reckoner of what you need to do…

Planning to apply for internships? Here’s a ready reckoner of what you need to do…

Internships have become quite mainstream in India, in the last few years, thanks to the Internet economy. Gone are the days when college students were okay with working for free. Today, youngsters are determined to get work-life experience while still in college, but not without a stipend. This has led to fierce competition in the market, with start-ups and big companies offering many opportunities. Though they are constantly on the lookout for raw talent, demand outstrips the supply.

Before a student begins to apply for internships, he/she should understand what his/her interests are. This will help narrow down the sector and companies to apply to. Also, one should start applying early during college life. This will allow the students to pursue multiple internships during those years and gain adequate skills and experience before applying for that first job. Exploring multiple profiles also helps recognise his/her calling. Here are some tips to help one begin the process of applying for internships:

Figure out your interest: It is imperative to know what interests you. Applying for an internship in a sector that doesn’t interest you might ruin the experience. Talk to your seniors, read internship stories, attend seminars and conferences, read descriptions of offers and research online to understand your interests.

Resume building: Once you find an internship opportunity that interests you, it is time to build a resume. Read the listed requirements carefully and mention your skills and qualities. Ensure that you state past experiences such as holding a position of responsibility in school or participating in activities (curricular or extracurricular) that reflect your potential. Make a point of mentioning any skill training programmes that you have undertaken. While highlighting your academic qualifications, skills, project and volunteering experience, ensure that your text is crisp and error-free.

E-mail etiquette: Often, youngsters are not aware of how to draft professional emails. Reach out to family members or others you know about writing work e-mails. Search online, read blogs, and follow the steps to draft a professional e-mail. Also, send a covering letter explaining why you are suitable for the role. Ensure that there are no grammatical, spelling, or typographical errors.

Follow up: Companies receive numerous applications for their internship posts. So, it takes time to hear from them. If you do not receive a response by around 10 working days, send another e-mail asking about your application status. Most students do not follow up and thereby, miss out on opportunities. Following up shows that you are sincere and genuinely interested in the position. If you do not receive a reply to your follow-up mail, do not hesitate to reach out again after a week. If you still don’t receive a response, don’t be disheartened. Continue your search and keep applying to other opportunities.

Build your network: Apart from sending emails to HRs and applying through career tech platforms, start building your network. On social media, follow and connect with founders and CEOs of companies and start-ups. Send a message expressing interest in their business and how you would like to be a part of it. Make a strong pitch on why you would be a suitable person to join their platform.

The writer is Founder and CEO, Internshala

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