It’s a first-world problem for every young job seeker out there: “You need experience to get experience.” Finding a job can be hard when you’re fresh out of college and employers are looking for young graduates with 20 years of experience. A bit of an exaggeration, yes, but life isn’t fair, and the real world is dark and full of terrors.
To tackle this cycle of ‘experience to get experience’, colleges are now offering internship programs for college students. It works both ways too - for the companies, it’s like a trial period to test out potential employees. For you, it can be a hands-on experience to learn and explore new avenues.
Furthermore, a study found that an internship program can be a great way for you to align your work with your interests, values and strengths. This can help you find a deeper sense of purpose in your work, which means that you’re ten times more likely to have a high overall wellbeing.
Before starting your internship program, do your homework on the company, its policies, product universe, and such. The last thing you want is to show up unprepared and clueless - a classic rookie mistake. Learning more about the company will not only make you prepared, but it’ll also make you sound confident and knowledgeable.
The next thing to remember at the start of your internship program is your attire. “Dress to impress” may sound vain, but in a professional setting, this can be your plus point in making a good first impression. In fact, how you dress says a lot about your personality, and also affects your performance and self-outlook. From a sophisticated fold of your tie to the immaculate shine of your shoes - make sure that you dress the part for your internship program.
Sure, an internship program can give you the hands-on experience you need, but there’s more to it than work, work, work. You see, it’s not just about what you know, but who you know. The things you learn will be meaningless if you can’t capitalize on the exposure you’re getting during your internship program. You don’t have to look for opportunities to pop up later in your work life. Your internship program is your opportunity to make connections and build rapport.
Step outside of your comfort zone. Even the little things - like waving at someone, saying hello, making small talk - can make all the difference. That guy you talked to near the coffee maker? He could be the next CEO. That girl you complimented in the elevator? She could be the next Regional Head. Take the initiative to build as many relationships as possible, and make the necessary connections along the way.
One thing that companies genuinely appreciate is good work ethic. You might be a star candidate with a great personality, remarkable talents and impressive resume - but all of that can go down the drain if you have poor work ethic.
Start off your internship program with relentless punctuality. When it comes to showing up in the morning or for meetings, or completing tasks within the set deadlines - be punctual to a fault. Sure, some of these tasks may be mundane, but ensure that you execute them perfectly. Plus, if you want appreciation in your internship program, take on more work than they expect from you. This way, companies will not only remember you but also value your work during your internship program.
“Curiosity killed the cat - but satisfaction brought it back.” Take this as your mantra, and try not to quell your curiosity during your internship program. As a matter of fact, asking the right questions shows that you’re willing to learn more. Remember to think less about the answers you get, and ponder more on the things you’re missing. It’s essentially reading between the lines - because let’s face it, no one at your internship program will hand you everything on a silver platter.
Another rookie mistake that most interns make is the fear of seeming like a young and inexperienced noob. Instead, you should take advantage of that image, and ask your superiors to teach you. There’s nothing wrong with being an amateur - after all, you’re there to gain some experience through that internship program.
An internship program can be a great way for you to tap into your potential and grow. To make the best out of the overall experience, don’t forget to document your eureka moments, slip-ups and lessons. In the end, humans have the memory of a goldfish - be on the safe side and keep track of your progress during your internship program. Plus, remember to build a portfolio of the work you’re doing for future reference.
Finally, ask for feedback on a daily basis. It shows the company that you’re taking an initiative, and simultaneously helps you work on your shortcomings. Your internship program is meant to be a learning experience after all. In some cases, when you’re reflecting back on your internship program, you might come to realize that this career path isn’t the right one for you. Despite that, the experience won’t go to waste - it will still be a valuable one.
Internship programs can expose you to different spectrums of the professional world, but they can be equally draining. Whether you can make the most out of this experience or not, depends on how well you can push past your limits. Of course, this also depends on the company’s reputation and its plethora of resources.
To deliver the best educational experience, at SAIM College, we require our students to undertake internship programs. The primary goal of the internship is to provide a student with a practical, on-the-job exposure and an opportunity to apply theoretical concepts in real-life situations. Students’ interests and intended area of concentration are taken into account while making internship placement decisions. Our internship programs help to bring out the best in our students, and support them to explore new avenues in their respective fields of interest.
In addition, SAIM college has its own Graduates Placement Cell that leads its graduates to a diversified platter of jobs and employers after or before graduation. Our graduates have been placed in various reputed organizations like Nepal Rastra Bank, Vishal Group, Hotel Shangrila, Surya Nepal, Laxmi Bank, The British Council, to name a few.