Though the majority of internships start at the very beginning of summer, fall is the time when big companies start the application process. So if you plan to become an intern in the company of your dream, it’s high time to get ready for this.
Internships bring with them as many questions and doubts as experience and skills. How long should they last, how much time per day they occupy, where to find the best options, and many more. Read the below post to get useful tips and an internship offer as a result.
Why internships are important
Internships play a crucial role not only in the lives of the interns, but they are also important for the companies. College students and graduates need internships to understand if they’ve chosen the right career path and whether they feel comfortable working for this or that start-up or enterprise. Internships also play an important role in getting valuable experience that facilitates further recruitment.
Companies hiring interns get their benefits too. Internships allow them to diversify their recruitment approach and get the best candidates for the best price on the market. Besides, internships help to evaluate a candidate before hiring them and without extra money investments. The only thing that a company usually spends on the intern is time and human resources.
Where to look for an internship
The first thing to check if you are still in college is your career center. Many colleges have sites where all of the internships are collected. Check the internship possibilities posted there, since this can be a great resource to start from. The career center may require some digging to find it, but it is worth the spent time.
Besides, when looking for an internship, talk to as many people as you can, including family, friends of the family, mentors you’ve had in college, seniors, etc. Ask them if they have any leads, or if they know anyone in the area you are interested in, maybe they work for companies that have internship opportunities. This tip is especially relevant for those who are in their early years of study and do not have that much of relevant experience. A good recommendation can help you get the position of an intern. Many things happen by a chance, so your task is to get as many connection points as possible.
Alongside the above, you can search the job boards and send the applications for the internships. Be ready to get the replies from only a handful, but make sure you make a proper follow-up of each reply you get. Don’t be discouraged if you get only a few replies, just continue to send the applications.
Have in mind that an internship is not something you will be doing for the rest of your life. It is just a tool to get some justified relevant experience. To get more job opportunities after graduation, we recommend getting an internship every summer, so by the time of graduation you have something to show in your resume. When looking for an internship try not to lock yourself into the boundaries of some specific occupation, try to be open to different options.
When to start the search
As said above, though the majority of internships start during summer, you better keep an eye on what is on the market already during the fall. Big companies with a complicated corporate structure start the application process already now. Here is how you can approach the search:
- Limit the search by the industries you are interested in;
- Then identify the key players on the market;
- Browse their websites to see if they have any internships available for the coming summer.
When creating your application, make sure you cater it for the specific job you apply for. When you are interviewing show that you are passionate and that you care for the role and the contribution you can make.
Speak about your experiences and skills but be focused on the company. Dwell more on how the company can benefit from you joining the team.
How to get an internship
- First of all, to increase your chances to get an internship, you need to review your resume or create one if you don’t have it. Even if this is going to be your first job, you can make a good resume by remembering and listing all your achievements.
- Step two is branding yourself as a professional. Make sure you have a professional email address and provide that all emails coming to the potential employer look professional too. This means they are properly formatted and do not contain any spelling or grammar mistakes. You can use free or paid tools to corrects your writings, such as Grammarly or a built-in Google Docs spellchecker.
- Apply for whatever position that sounds exciting to you. Even if you do not have the skills listed in the job description, apply anyway. Your enthusiasm may be enough if they feel you really like the position and would like to develop your career in this sphere. Sometimes it is worth breaking the rules.
How to answer internship interview questions
Get ready to answer the interview questions. Usually, they are quite typical, but you need to be ready in advance to produce a positive impression. An employer can ask you such questions as:
Why do you want an internship in our company?
To answer this question you have to know about the company’s culture, management style, and generally about their workflows. Find something that attracts you and makes you want to become a part of the team.
What is the most relevant experience that you have?
Think of what skills you got during your school and college years, remember the jobs you had before that can help you to perform in this place.
What do you do to stay organized?
You will get into a fast-paced environment, so think of how you will stay productive when you’ll have information falling on you from emails, Slack, and colleagues.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Use your personal life experience or some cases from your former jobs or internships, where you had to overcome obstacles.
What are your internship goals? What do you want to get out of this experience?
Here you can even make a list of your aims, you may want to get a job in this company after the internship or you may need to get an insider-feel of the company to make sure if this sphere suits you. There can be specific skills you may want to obtain during an internship. Don’t be shy to talk about your needs.
Do you have any questions for us?
The wrong answer here is to say that you don’t. If you are truly interested in the position and if you’ve done some research beforehand, you are sure to have questions.
Another question that is often asked at interviews is how you can contribute to the company, you can refer to our recent blog post to get a detailed answer.
How long internships last
The duration of the internship depends on several factors — on the industry, on the company goals, and on the interns’ skills and potential.
The overall internship duration can be from several weeks up to several months. Many of the internships are planned for the summer holidays so that they do not overlap with the academic year, and students can easily participate.
Internships that happen during the year, for example, in spring, fall, or winter, usually do not last that long and are finalized within several weeks. Recruiters also try to plan them for the periods when students have their time off, so that an internship does not coincide with the periods of study.
Some internships last considerably longer than just a couple of months. For instance, an internship can last a whole year or 2 semesters. In this case, the first semester is not paid and the second one is paid, provided an intern performs during the first semester. The second semester is not guaranteed though. If an employer is not satisfied with the intern, or if they no longer want to continue an internship program, they can wind it up right after the first semester.
College career length internships
If a company is affiliated with a college, it can provide a paid internship with a competitive salary that lasts the whole period of study. Students study and work at the same time, which allows companies to perform their talent management strategy and lets interns get an impressive experience even before graduation.
Typically, an internship is shorter than a temporary job but longer than an externship. Internships can be full-time and part-time.
Full-time internships usually occupy 40 hours per week. Part-time internships last from 5 to 20 hours per week.
It is also possible to get an internship of a project length. This means that you are hired to work on a particular project and the internship lasts as long as the project. When the project is finalized the internship is over.
Externships offer a slightly different experience and that is why they last from several days up to several weeks. Externships allow students and graduates to get an idea of how the work in the office is organized, what daily activities they will need to be engaged in when hired. Often an extern follows a professional already working in the company and observe their workflow and responsibilities.
Externships are useful as they let to make a lot of professional connections within a short period of time and get an insider perspective of what the work in the company.
What experience is considered meaningful for an employer
When hiring someone employers usually require candidates to have some experience in the field they would like to develop their career. Thus graduates are required to have about 6 – 12 months of fulltime working experience by the time they graduate.
The requirements can be a bit higher and for some positions, companies expect candidates to have a minimum of a 13-month experience, and preferably 24 months of full-time work for the whole period of their college study.
How much does an intern get
Internships can be paid and unpaid. It depends on the type of internship, whether it is a part-time or a full-time position, and how much time an intern generally spends in the office, or doing the job remotely.
If an internship is unpaid, an intern is more flexible. You can tell your employer that you can work only within specific hours when you are free from classes. The workload, in this case, is also different, unpaid interns can perform not all the duties the position presumes, but just a part of them.
Many students and graduates wonder if unpaid internships are beneficial or if they are a waste of time.
No matter whether an intern gets paid or not the internship is always worth the experience and knowledge they get. The main objective of an internship is to learn and not make a fortune. Another reason for getting an internship is that it helps you understand whether it is something you want to do for your living. And even if you do not get paid this is a crucial thing to understand. Internships effectively teach you about the industry in general and help you avoid mistakes that other people made.
Besides, you’ll get priceless contacts and connections in the industry. Compare it to the university, nobody expects to get paid for studying and getting knowledge. The same is with an internship, an intern benefits from it as much as the company.