A first-generation entrepreneur, Dr Jitin Chadha is the Founder Director of Indian Institute of Art and Design and Indian School of Business and Finance. Dr Chadha was awarded his Doctorate in Finance in 2011, in a grand ceremony chaired by the HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal and Prof. Dinesh Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University.
An internship is one of the best things in a student’s life before hitting the Corporate World. The internship is not just some casual work done for achieving a Certificate. If taken seriously can open up multiple doors of opportunities.
To describe an Internship, it is an opportunity for a student pursuing an undergraduate or a graduate course to apply the skills learned in the classroom in real life. It also helps learn new skills, explore the corporate world, network and ultimately align their career path.
An industry internship offers a great learning environment and a practice ground for classroom learning. Employers give significant importance to any prior experience. The internship is eventually the best experience window any student can get before they land their first job.
There are some essential points that you should keep in mind while searching for an internship –
- Interest and Study Stream – There’s a thin line difference between what you study and what you’re interested in pursuing as a long-term career. Many students fall into the trap of irrelevant internships, which may be paying high, but don’t offer any relevant learning. Hence, resulting in leaving you unsatisfied with the job after a few initial months. So, while searching for an internship, don’t focus on high pay, but focus on which one will enhance your learning horizon in the field of your interest.
- Prior Experience – You often get at least one chance while in college to work on some project or event. Knowingly or unknowingly, you get exposure to learning opportunities, which you might not learn in a classroom setting. When you apply for your internships, I highly recommend keeping a close check on your learning from those projects or events. It can help choose the most relevant and worthy internship.
- Global vs. Local – I am sure most of you would love to work or intern for Google and the Microsoft of the world. There’s nothing wrong with that feeling. It’s good you have such aspirations. But getting an internship or job in such organizations is not child’s play. You have to prove your worth. So, instead of being carried away by scouting for only global or dream companies, start with local startups in the area of your interest. These startups offer a great deal of learning by allowing you to work on a variety of projects.
- Resume Building – Before you hit that APPLY button on any job portal and apply for an exciting internship, hang on. Almost 70% of internship applications get rejected because the applicant has not considered checking the resume’s content before applying. One size doesn’t fit all, right? The same applies to your internship application as well. I highly recommend and backed by industry feedback that every application needs some tweaking in the resume to fit the job description best. So, make sure you read the job description very carefully and match your resume’s content accordingly.
- Company Research – There are chances of you getting an internship with a company where you are the only person in your department. Thus, restricting you from learning from the right mentor. Since there will be no one to guide you through your learning journey, you will be mainly in the dilemma of whether you did the right thing, used the right strategy, considered the right tools, etc. Comprehensive research about the company and the department you will be working in will help you identify your mentors and learning path.
Once you have got an internship, there are five primary learning outcomes that you can achieve if you work well. Have a read –
- Real-world Exposure – When a student is in college, they are protected in a cocooned environment, not exposed to the harsh realities of the world or precisely, the Corporate World. I call it harsh realities because most students are not aware of what might be expected of them other than their learning in the classroom. The condition of a classroom project is way more convenient than the dynamic environment it will happen in the real world. A sales pitch made in a college competition is way easier than the actual sale done in the market. Even in the most challenging times, one must always have a learning approach for achieving continuous success.
- Career Clarity – Students mainly select a career based on their interests in the subjects they study in college. But they often find it more challenging when they join the corporate world. Students come with varied expectations about their chosen careers, but they tend to change their job based on their newly developed interests when exposed to other career options. Hence, it is strongly advisable to take an internship with an open mind to explore diverse career options possible and then focus on the area that interests them the most.
- Networking – When the students are in college, most of their network is their friends in their college or other colleges. But when they enter the corporate world, they get a chance to develop a network beyond college boundaries. This network helps them in getting the knowledge required to build their career. The network also helps them connect with mentors to guide them through their career paths. They give them valuable insights to succeed, help them avoid common mistakes, and most importantly, help them connect with future employers through their network. Someone could be your potential customer, a reliable vendor, a strong team-lead or even a fantastic co-worker. The more value you add to your network, the better result you will reap.
- Resume Strengthening – As you start your internship, work wholeheartedly. Learn as much as you can. Every future employer considering your candidature will be more interested in knowing what you learned during your internship, what value you add to the team and the project. Employers are interested not in the certificate you earned from the internship but the knowledge you gained. So, ensure your sincerity while being on your internship. An internship after every semester is a solid recommendation to build a variety of exposure settings. However, one should try to get maximum internships during the initial years of your study. Such exposures undoubtedly increase your practical learning and subsequently strengthen your resume.
- Confidence – As I mentioned earlier, your real-life learning is not adequate due to your protected environment in college. But when you enter the corporate world, you get a chance to learn from your mistakes and, thus, build confidence. During an internship, you get the opportunity to learn from the actual scenarios that you have read, only in books. An internship is a golden opportunity for every student to know the real challenges an organization faces and how you can solve a problem. With your out-of-the-box, fresh thinking, you may even offer a solution and gain the organization’s confidence, resulting in securing a job in the future.