How to choose the right internship for yourself
 
You have just started your college life and your teachers, parents, seniors, and peers, everybody is talking about internships and how you should do one. Frankly, at this point of your academic career, they can’t really give you any better advice than this. Why is that? The reason behind this is that internships directly or indirectly improve your chances of getting employed by validating all your learnings with relevant hands-on experience in a professional environment. Internships can truly kickstart your career by making you employable, updating your skill set and complementing your resume that will make you stand out in front of a prospective employer when you graduate.
 
In today’s competitive world, when you need prior work experience even for the entry level jobs, internships could do wonders for your career. This is why you often find your seniors and classmates fiercely looking to grab the best of internship opportunities. Learning all this, it is inevitable for you to get excited about it and start looking for internships for yourself. After all, the early you start, the more you’ll learn, and the better your chances will be to bag that dream job. But, how could you find one that’ll suit your interests and abilities?
 
Well, with the advent of digital era, it has become extremely easy for students to find internship opportunities through various online platforms that offer an abundant number of opportunities in a number of categories and profiles, at locations across India, and offering a variety of working options (virtual, part-time, and full-time). However, having a bountiful of opportunities could get overwhelming and students might end up confused. So, how does one know how to apply to the right opportunities for themselves? To answer that, first, you need to ask yourself these 3 questions - why, what, and how?
 
Why do you want to do an internship?
 
There could be a plenty of reasons why students pursue internships. Some of them want to update their skill sets and gain practical knowledge in their field of study by working in real-time environment while some are looking to explore their options to find their true calling. In addition to these, there are a lot of factors that influence students to pursue internships like a chance to earn while learning, to get a certificate or a letter of recommendation, to create a professional network for themselves, or just to add another achievement in their resume.
 
What are your options?
 
Before you start applying to internships, you need to know what all options you have and on what profiles you could apply to. For instance, if you are pursuing a management degree, you could pursue internships in business development, marketing, finance, operations or human resources. Looking at so many opportunities, it is easy to be tempted to apply to all. It’s right that internships allow you to explore your options but it is equally important for you to limit the options as per your interests. Like in the previous example, if you have good people skills and you like interacting with people, you could go for internships in marketing and human resources or if you are good with numbers, you could try your hands on a finance internship.
 
 
How to choose the right internship for yourself?
 
Now, comes the most interesting part that is, choosing the right internship opportunity for yourself. This could get tricky but you need not worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are 3 things that you could keep in mind while deciding on the internships you want to do -
 
● Do the necessary research - After deciding on the profiles of your interest, comes the step to send internship applications but before that, you must spend some quality time conducting the necessary research and understand what you are getting into. This includes a research about the organisation through their official website, reading reviews on online platforms, or by talking to former interns and understand their selection and evaluation process. Other thing that you need to be clear about is the work you’ll be responsible for as an intern; this is important since if you end up running basic errands and not doing any useful work, the purpose of doing an internship won’t be met.
 
● Paid vs Unpaid - While stipend could be a deciding factor for some students, make sure you prioritise learning aspects and don’t reject an opportunity only because it offered less stipend or no stipend at all. Before you make that choice, you need to understand the kind of work that is expected from you and what kind of organisation it is. It is probable that internships in your field of interest are usually unpaid like if you want to do an internship in a niche profile or a research internship under an esteemed professor. Another example where it is okay to pursue an unpaid internship is of NGO and volunteering internships as the sole purpose of these is to bring societal good and not earn any profit.
 
● Big brand vs startup - This could be a major dilemma for students as both have their own pros and cons. While an internship in a big brand brings a big name value on your resume and gives you a chance to be mentored by experienced professionals, you might not be given impactful work responsibilities. Whereas in startups, there’s a limited workforce which is why interns are trusted with major responsibilities that directly impact their users, thus providing the interns with better learning opportunities.
 
Courtesy: Sarvesh Agrawal is the founder and CEO of Internshala - an internship and trainings platform (internshala.com)