I believe that the internships I went through when I was studying at my university were considered ‘ideal’, at least, at that point in my life. But first, what is an ideal internship?
An ‘ideal’ is not necessarily something constant across time. Your ideal job today may be different from your ideal job in a year. The idea of ‘ideal’ is pretty subjective.
In any case, here’s my take on defining an ideal internship: it’s an opportunity which brings you value, in terms of the amount of exposure of the desired job you would like and how much you want to learn on the job. It strives for the right balance between learning and doing. You’re not completing on your own but you’re not a coffee maker either.
An amazing team of supporting colleagues is a must too!
And a good remuneration package is a plus 😉
But how do you get that ideal internship? Here’s the secret.
Don’t be blinded by fame and status. Go for startups.
For many people, it’s easy to fall for that particular charm that Fortune 500 companies have. Of course, I’m not preventing you from applying to those firms, but I’ve found my experience in smaller companies more fulfilling.
Besides if you’ve been delaying your applications, you’d have a higher chance of getting a fast response from startups that from those conglomerates and you’d be able to secure an internship for the coming holidays!
Anyway, it’s okay to apply to any company, big or small, that is related to your professional interests, but don’t limit yourself to the famous ones. There are thousands of SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) out there; you could give them a try. It’s only three months.
At first, I wanted to try working for a big company just to see if I’d like it. But I’d always be more successful with startups. From my very first internship to my freelance writing jobs, I’ve always ended up working with small businesses.
And it’s been great.
The best way to approach your ideal company.
When applying to big companies, I’ve often found myself restricted by the already structured application processes. But it’s not always the case. And whenever companies, big or small, allow you to be creative, you gotta take that chance to stand out!
For instance, some will ask for a short video resume, which is an important ‘hit or miss’ aspect in their decision. In general, be yourself and highlight your achievements related to the job.
There was once a recruiter who told me that what sold the deal for her was my resume: it was clean, clear, and well-structured. So one piece of advice would be to polish your CV before applying to anywhere.
As for job hunting platforms, I noticed that WOBB works really well for Malaysians and there are many valuable internships and experiences that are available. That’s because WOBB focuses on company culture. However, I also got a lot of contacts on LinkedIn and job opportunities that fill my skills exactly—just make sure that your profile is complete and detailed. Besides, applying on those platforms is most of the time as easy as a single click.
Finally, to get that ideal internship, be confident in your skills, be passionate about what you do and be enthusiastic in your cover letter. Recruiters will notice. Put yourself in their shoes: would you hire yourself given the limited information you have?
What an ‘ideal internship’ brings you.
By the end of an internship, you would—ideally—feel like you’ve accomplished something meaningful, something that has been useful to the company. You would have received the answers to all the questions you had at the beginning of the job. You would have a general idea of what would be waiting for you in the real world after your studies. And you would be able to decide whether this is for you or not.
At the core, internships make your career path a bit clearer. They give you some direction. They highlight your strengths and weaknesses, as well as your preferred working conditions. What would you be ready to sacrifice for your job and what can you not compromise on? What are your values?
In all, an ideal internship helps you find your way in your future professional life. Can the companies you’re applying to give you that kind of enlightenment? That’s what you have to consider before submitting your CV.
What is your version of an ideal internship? Share it in the comments below!
D. K. Waye.
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