Understanding the what, why, when and how of internships
What is an internship?
Given the current rise in the trend of doing internships among college students, there would hardly be any student who isn't aware of the meaning of the term 'internship.' Still if you were to Google the meaning of the term the dictionary meaning comes as, 'the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification.'
In simpler terms an internship is a job that the student takes up while he is still in college. It might be either paid or unpaid but the main motive of the student is to gain experience of the corporate world before actually setting foot in it.
Why Should You Do An Internship?
There are many reasons as to why a student must do an internship. Some of which are listed below.
Work Experience - Almost every major organization today is looking for candidates with experience. Even if you are a fresh out of college graduate employers expect you have some kind of experience in the field for which you are applying. And the only way to get a good professional experience while still pursuing college is by the medium of internships.
Practical Knowledge - Many of things that we study in the classrooms is all theoretical knowledge. We have little or no means to test those theories in real life practical situations. Internships on the other hand give students a chance to test their classroom knowledge and learn its practical application in real life situations.
Define Clear Career Goals - Many students are unclear of their career goals while pursuing college. The subject they are studying might open different career paths making them unsure of which one to pursue. Internships give them a chance to try working in both the jobs and determine which works better for them. Another possible scenario is that a student might have some particular job profile in their mind but having interned in that profile they might feel that it is not for them. This saves them a lot of trouble of having to switch jobs once they enter the corporate lifestyle.
Networking and Recommendation Letters - Interning at an organization provides you with a wonderful opportunity to expand your network and connect with professionals in your field of interest. If you develop good relations with your colleagues you can even get your mentor or previous employer to put in a good word for you at your next internship or even land you, your first job after college. Even a simple recommendation letter from them can work wonders.
College Credit / Extra Money - Another reasons for doing internships is that many colleges have started giving credits for doing an internship. They have made it mandatory for students enrolled with them to complete at a minimum of one or two internships as a part of their academic curriculum. Also, if you are able to secure for yourself a paid internship that means some extra pocket money. You could easily cover out your travel expenses and so with that money.
When is the ideal time for pursuing an internship?
Looking from the employers perspective, companies hire interns round the year. You can decide on the best time for you to do an internship depending on how long you wish to intern or how much time do you have to spare on yourself. You can intern for a month, or three, or six, or even a year. But it all depends on your preferences. Doing an unpaid internship for a period of more than three months might not seem like a good option for some. While some may continue on for even a period of six months. There are some who intern round the year and do it mostly through work from home internships.
How To Find An Internship?
Having talked about what is an internship, why do it and when to do it, let's talk about how can you find yourself a good internship.
College Placement Cells
Placement cells in many colleges also help students with securing internships at reputed organizations in the field of interest. You could go for interviews and explore opportunities through them.
Internship Listing Websites
There are many listing website online that allow students to scour through hundreds and thousands of internship openings in various organization. You could easily sign up with any of these get yourself an internship of your choice.
References and Contacts in an organization
Another method is that you are surrounded by so many working professionals around you, your parents, extended family member and even the friends of your family. Someone where usually happens to know a person in some organization where you could. Also, having an inside contact in any organization increases you chances of getting hired but that would be a waste unless you are able to gain something from that opportunity.
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