How to get an Internship
Getting Started- by Filippa Bahrke
Employers are increasingly aware of the value of concrete professional experience in the related field on top of academic achievements. There are different ways in which internships can be undertaken. There are industrial placements, usually occurring during 2nd year, graduate placements lasting a year after graduation, and summer internships ranging from 3 weeks to 3 months. As companies are opening up to more interns, competition is getting fiercer. Therefore a good knowledge of the process and a high standard on your application is vital.
Online, it is easy to get lost in a jungle of websites that function as search engines for internships. But before taking that plunge, make sure you have a CV which is impressive, errorless and neat. The GET department should be the first step, as they offer professionals who can advise you on structuring your CV, as well as help with highlighting your strengths. Their service can be particularly useful for international students, as CVs come in different formats and may look different in the UK (such as merging CV and cover letter).
To land an internship, persistency will be your best friend. Remember that your CV is not just a singular document. It will have to be edited into multiple different versions, each tailored for a certain job. So create a ‘skeleton’ CV, serving as a base, then do the research for each specific company to understand which skills are needed, and finally emphasise these on the CV. Now, what if your list of work experience equals a blank space? This is where you need to get creative. Think about skills and achievements you’ve picked up through university or school. Maybe you have been volunteering in the past or are active in a society. Perhaps you have a hobby you are passionate about or successful at. However unrelated these things seem, experience and accomplishments are always valuable.
Amidst The Process – by Edward P. Jemes
Telephone Interviews: usually straightforward and many times easier than the assessment centres due to the lack of depth in which the topics are discussed. This is the time to shine with the personal skills such as communication, teamwork, or analytical skills. Remember to back your thoughts with examples from your employment or academic skills. Express your ideas with the STAR guide:
It is helpful to do a background check on the previous intern’s experiences of the company you are applying for by looking into their blogs or websites. Research the role you are applying for to the smallest details (even how many hours a typical shift is). Also check how the company is doing in the news, read as many articles as possible or even follow the company’s news section. Usually they will appreciate the fact that you are keeping up with the company from outside.
Logical Tests: These tests are surprisingly challenging, ranging from the numerical test to the logical test. The key is practice. Practice is needed to accommodate the mind into the time set in these tests (usually you will be warned that you will need to 20 minutes to complete all the questions while you will be given 15 minutes).
When rejection knocks on the door: There is an Italian expression that goes “Buon viso a cattiva sorte”: to every bad event one should always smile. So although it may be a negative feeling when rejected, especially from the company where you burned ambitiously to work, cheer up and don’t get depressed. So you didn’t get the internship you wanted? Keep looking elsewhere and other opportunities will open up.
Luckily some companies will provide their feedback on their assessments or interviews. Use to these to gage your weaknesses, correct them and be more prepared for the next interviews. Remember Winston Churchill’s words “Never, never, never give up.”
Photos by Divyang Chopra