Your internship would be your first exposure to a corporate life, says Sarvesh Agrawal, founder, Internshaala.
Photograph: Matylda Czarnecka/Creative Commons
If you are still in college and believe that you have a job waiting for you at the end of your term, perhaps you're wishing too hard.
But if you have done your internship, polished your knowledge and gained some new skills in the process, you stand a better chance at being hired.
What is an internship?
Usually ranging from a duration of 2-6 months, internships open a door of possibilities for the students as they work with organisations, acquire new skills and hone their interpersonal skills.
Many internships come with a part-time or work-from-home option, which gives students a flexibility to pursue an internship along with their college.
According to a study by Internshaala, 75 per cent students opt for virtual internships instead of the in-office ones.
Why are internships so important?
The Ministry of Human Resource Development has mandated three internships for every engineering student in the country.
This proves internships are vital for students to become skilled enough to work in a real-time environment and to earn a professional experience even before they graduate and join their very first job.
Internships are not limited to corporate exposure rather have in store, quite a few exhilarating opportunities for students.
Some ways how internships help you:
1. Improve your skill-set
Interning for an organisation would be the first exposure for you of a corporate life.
You would learn to work in a corporate or professional environment while you improve your professional communication.
You will improve your job-specific skills and sharpen your interpersonal skills. You learn to work in a team, learn to empathise and listen to your colleagues. Also, while working
on real-time projects, you develop more ownership and take on new challenges with other team members thus developing your problem-solving skills.
2. Hands-on experience
When you work on real-time projects, you learn a great deal about the latest technologies, tools, and the methods that are used in the current market.
Internships provide a platform for you to experiment with your career, explore new options, learn new skills, and gain practical skills which you would have learnt in your college.
Through an internship, you not just put a theory into practice but also deep-dive and find solutions.
3. Explore your options
Through internships, students can explore their career options, turn their hobbies into professions, or build their career in their field of studies.
Interning in various fields not only teaches you a diverse range of skills but also gives you a chance to explore the functioning of an organisation, and observe the responsibilities associated with different profiles closely.
This could ultimately help you in realising what you wish to build your career in.
Another undeniable fact is that most of the students, when they begin college do not have experience in their field of study and might realise their true interests at a later stage.
In such scenarios, an internship could be your path to gain experience in the fields other than your area of study. For instance, you have an interest in writing, you could pursue a career in content writing or you might have enjoyed sketching as a hobby, then design might be your calling.
When you are confused about your career options, take a step ahead and opt for an internship.
What's the right time for an internship?
While the summer and winter are the most popular seasons for students to apply for internships, there are opportunities for students round the year.
Ranging from work-from-home or virtual internships, students can pursue in-office full-time or part-time internships.
Students in their first year of college, usually have limited technical or stream-specific knowledge because of which I would recommend that they opt for internships in content writing, management, social media marketing, volunteer with NGOs, or opt for business development. This would ensure that they develop essential soft skills early on.
By the time a student is in her second or third year, she would have gained a better understanding of her field and she could opt for internships where she is applying her classroom knowledge.
Simultaneously, students should start networking with influencers and people in her field of interest. By the end of the second internship, she would have a clarity on pursuing her field of study or opting for building a career in her field of interest.
The last year of college is extremely crucial. Students would have gained key skills and experience from the previous internship experiences.
This would help their resume stand out among the peers. Armed with the shiny resume and practical knowledge, students can start looking out for their most crucial internship with their dream organisations.
Internships act as the stepping stone for their career and might help them land their first job.
In fact, approximately 46 per cent of total internships on our platform come with pre-placement offers (PPOs) and most of the MNCs offer PPOs to their best performers.
How to find an internship?
Unlike the past, when students had to rely on their relatives and college seniors for internships, the internet has opened a plethora of opportunities for students.
With the advent of technology and emergence of internship portals, finding internships isn't tough anymore.
There are hundreds of internship opportunities in tens of thousands of fields, students have the benefit of choosing internships as per their interests and availability.
Here are some of the most popular internship categories you can pursue:
The growing number of start-ups has led to a huge demand in this field.
It is one of the hottest career options and offers various internship opportunities in marketing, human resources, sales, operations, and finance.
Students who are interested in building a career in management can pursue management internships even before they opt to study in the field.
With rapid technological advancement, engineers are high in demand over a gamut of internships including web development, CAD design, product management, research and development, mechanical engineering, data science, electrical and electronics, and aerospace and aeronautical space.
An internship in engineering can enhance the practical knowledge of the students even while they are studying and will be a boost for their resume.
Some most popular internship profiles are content writing and social media marketing fueling to the demand of media internships.
Apart from these domains, you could look for internships in video editing, media, and public relations, and editorial and copywriting internships.
The popular phrase, 'Content is the king', still holds true especially with the rise of social media.
As organisations have begun to realise the importance of the look, feel, and experience that their product provides their customers with, design has become a hot category to find internships.
If you are a design student or have a knack for creativity, you can look for internships across profiles such as UI/UX design, graphic design, or product design.
Along with building your technical skills, internships add the value of work experience to your resume.
It gives you an upper edge when you finally interview for your dream job while you experiment with your career and earn a cool stipend!