How to get an internship with a startup?Swati Mittal
Why should you intern at a startup?
Internships are a great way to kick-start your career while you are still in college. And with all the hype surrounding startups, it doesn’t come as a surprise that many students might be interested in getting an internship with a startup. Startups are a great place to gain experience and insight how companies are build and how do they become successful. When interning at a startup you undergo a rigorous amount of training as compared to that of a big organization. Therefore, the trend of interning at a startup is quickly catching up among Indian college students. If you are also one those, you might want to consider all the pros and cons related to interning at a startup before diving into it. So, let’s get into it.
Interning @ Startup vs. Interning @ Big companies
There is a funny dictum about startups “If you want learn how companies work, join a brand; but if you want to learn how to make a company work, join a startup.” This is an apt piece of advice for students planning to intern at a startup.
Many students are doubtful of working in a company that doesn't have a brand name backing. But they fail to realize that the experience that you gain here is far more worth compared to what you will gain working with a brand. Startups offer interns more opportunities to put their talent to use than a big organization ever would. The simple reason being at a startup you have minimal resources, a single person might be responsible for work of 2-3 different departments.
Interns are given almost the same level of responsibilities as that of an employee in a startup, which is never the case at a big organization. The nightmarish stories of interns being limited to ‘coffee-bringers’ while interning at big companies are also true to an extent. Also, when it comes to converting your internship into a job opportunity, the retention rate is much higher at a startup than at a big organization. Working at a startup you learn many essential skills about the working of different departments, the process is more transparent and hence, you pick up valuable skills that come in quite handy in your professional life later on.
Wondering how you can land the perfect internship with a startup? Let’s find out!
How to land an internship at a startup?
If you think that getting an internship at a startup is easy, then you are highly mistaken. Startups are very careful while hiring interns. Why you ask? You are a short time resource and they will have to spend a valuable amount of time teaching you essential skills and shaping you for the work profile. And they have limited resources; in terms of both manpower as well as finance. Hence, they cannot invest a lot of time teaching someone who is not cut-out for the job. So, how do you ensure that you land an internship at a startup for yourself?
Do Your Homework
The first step in your preparation to win an internship at a startup is to do a thorough research about the company. Read what the company is about, their vision, how they were founded, also look into the profile of the founders. And do all this work with dedication and commitment, not because you need to get an internship there but because you need to first figure out whether this is the right startup for you or not. When working at a startup you need to be in sync with the ideals and the vision of that startup. Remember, you only have a limited number of opportunities to intern while in college so, use them wisely. You'd also need to understand the roles that you'd be asked to play at that organization and all that can only be understood by doing a thorough research on the company. Or, you could also send out an email asking for the same.
Once you are done with the research about the startup, send out an internship application to the startup applying for the position of an intern. Attach your resume and edit it to match the skills and the requirements of the startup. On the basis of your company research, build your resume in a way that is in sync with the ideals and vision of the startup. Emphasize on your skills that could come in handy for the people and mention multiple skills sets, if applicable. Like for example, if you are applying for the position of a copywriter in some startup advertising agency and if you possess a decent knowledge of designing softwares mention it in your resume. It could increase your chances of getting hired manifolds, as startups are always on the outlook for people who possess multiple skills sets.
When you walk into the interview room be calm and put aside any feeling of anxiety or nervousness that you may have. Remember, you were called for the interview hence, the recruiters were clearly impressed by your profile. Now all you need to do is to show them that, all that you wrote in your resume is true. Make the employers see the potential in you andbe confident of your abilities. Talk to the employers about the ideas and the ways in which you could contribute to the company. Based on your research pick specific projects that the company is undertaking and talk about how you could be a valuable asset to the team. And most importantly, show a willingness to learn new things.
Apart, from all these tips mentioned above, there are some other essential dos and don'ts of applying for an internship at a startup. Things that you should always keep in mind to avoid making any stupid mistakes.
Some Essential Dos and Don'ts
It might be true that the startups are short on resources and are always looking for good interns. But that doesn't mean that they would hire just about anyone. They need people who are responsible and committed. You have to make your employer believe that you can hold your fort and won't require mentoring at every step of the process. No one expects you to be an expert but, you need to have a willingness to learn and take initiatives.
Hence, here are some basic dos and don'ts when applying for an internship at a startup. Things that will help you impress and gain the faith your employer.
1. Arrive before time on the interview day- if you arrive late on the interview day itself, it shows a lack of commitment and responsibility on your part. Also, it forms a negative image of your personality in front of the employer.
2. Show Initiative - If there is something that you don't know about, don't make the mistake of giving answers on the basis of assumptions. State it clearly to the person interviewing that you are not aware of the concept and that you'd look it up.
3. Be confident and comfortable - If you feel any nervousness or anxiety remind yourself that you are here because the employers were impressed with your profile. All you need to do is impress them once more and have confidence in your skills.
1. Never ever ask such questions - "Sir, how come it's that not many people have heard about your company name in the industry?"
2. Don't make excuse for your own lack of skills - Like for example, never say,"my college doesn't teach that". Such answers do nothing but undermine your candidature.
3. Also, don't send out casual answers - in reply to the emails from the company. It makes it appear as if you are not interested in the opportunity.
Hope, the above mentioned tips will help you prepare your best and eventually land yourself a good internship at a great startup. So, what are you waiting for, send out your applications and don't forget to share the article with your friend circles.For more such articles please visit, www.jagranjosh.com/college. Alternatively, you can also get them directly in your inbox by submitting your email-id in the box below.