Internship programmes offer people the opportunity to explore jobs that match their academic and personal interests. They provide direct access to the realities of a workplace. The length of the internship programme depends on the company. Some programmes are about two weeks long while others are around a year. Companies rarely pay you for your participation in the programme and most of the time internships involve the completion of menial and repetitive tasks. Most duties are similar to those of an entry-level position.
Although many companies won’t pay you, your payment will come in the form of knowledge. An internship is, in other words, somewhat of a test drive for your future career.
Most internship programmes require you to have a curriculum vitae (CV). You will effectively be interviewed for your position as an intern; it is important, however, to think about the future consequences of your interview. By this we mean that often companies choose to hire employees based on the results of their internship programme. It always benefits the company if they don’t have to spend time training a new employee. This is your stepping stone in your career – keep that in mind. This is a big step in your journey to being a professional.
Internships also provide you with the chance to build a professional network of contacts. Whether these contacts prove to be dependable depends on whether you prove to be dependable. Contacts are made and kept as long as you develop a reputation for being responsible and hardworking. This is the point at which your personal brand comes into play. Basically, slay and get a recommendation letter to accompany that slayage. Contacts also need to be nourished, so you will need to stay in touch with your contacts.
Many career and graduate recruitment experts are more and more advising undergraduates – someone who has not completed a degree/certificate/diploma – to build up relevant work experience as soon as they can. An internship programme provides you with invaluable experience that looks extremely attractive on your CV. The skills you acquire in the duration of an internship will set you apart from the competition and give you the edge in a difficult marketplace. Discuss the skills that you have acquired in detail. Remember that any menial task can be linked to skill development.
Internship managers often spend weeks or even months preparing for your arrival as an intern. They have shuffled their schedules around so that they can find the time to train you. Your manager will allow you to make mistakes but they will also show you how to correct them. Managers will teach you tips and tricks to succeed in the workplace. They will give you valuable feedback, both the good and the ugly. You may leave an internship feeling excited and well informed OR you might leave feeling as if the career path you thought you wanted to pursue is not actually the path for you. These are both positive results. As we discussed earlier, an internship programme is a test drive for your chosen career. One of the biggest opportunities internship presents is deciding if the job is for you. To find a company that is offering internship programmes is the difficult part.