Internships are fast becoming the norm. So strategise and accomplish your goals, using them to your advantage.

Summer is around the corner, so is internship season. The enterprising college goer seeks to spend her summer break productively, whether it is paid or unpaid. There is a growing interest among undergraduate and graduate students in doing an internship, though it is not restricted to professional courses.

Usefulness

One, your experience is valuable for recruiters who favour prospective employees with internship exposure.During the slowdown, when work is scarce, a real-time experience is what makes you stand out. And can we ignore the renewed self-confidence?

Just a classroom education with a good grade point average (GPA) is no longer enough. Employers want to see in candidates the multi-dimensional thinking required to succeed in a dynamic workplace. Arguably, a real exposure is more important than the college you studied in or the major you pursued. The intern’s performance in the workplace provides first-hand data, which is more reliable than what an interview can possibly throw up. So, if a job opens up at the workplace and an intern demonstrates skill in the necessary duties and responsibilities, you can rest assured of the job. Thus an internship, in turn, is the perfect practice to finding a job. If your internship has been a success, then in all likelihood, so will be your employment in that field. In that sense, your internship can be a testing lab. The transition to the workplace and assimilation thereafter is easier.

Though an internship is more useful for undergraduates aiming for MBA, aspirants to other graduate programmes also seek internship opportunities to add credence to their resume. For instance, let’s assume that your career choice requires that you have a PhD. Doing an internship in the domain of your curriculum when you’re pursuing your graduate programme is desirable. You can get a credit towards your graduate programme, and the experience figures on your resume as professional experience.

MBA aspirants to top B schools find it necessary to add extra-curricular activities in their application profile. For them a summer internship is highly advisable, in order to raise their chances of admit.

You need to strategise to accomplish your individual goals. Network with former interns, seek guidance from internship advisors. Intern with an organisation that is part of the industry you intend to enter after college. Though the majority prefer joining reputed firms, an emerging trend is that a good number of undergraduates opt to intern with varied enterprises ranging from FMCGs to media houses to NGOs. There are also those who seek to work with entrepreneurial ventures, in particular, social ventures.

The start-ups have to do more research with less investment, and interns come in handy. The interns themselves get a taste of how start-ups work. They get to do more here than they would in a big firm. Even students who don’t plan to return to the employers with whom they interned may still need that offer in hand.

If it becomes difficult to get placed despite these attempts, freelancing is the next possibility. Take up a group research project in a rural set-up, for instance, a survey to gauge consumption patterns, awareness, education levels, etc, or take up volunteer work on the government’s rural initiatives. Whatever you undertake, document it, make a video presentation; this will add value to your resume. www.indeed.com, www.internships.com, are some of the useful sites for looking up jobs and internships.

The writer is GMAT trainer at semantics Chennai. Email: vijaya@semanticslearning.com