All you need to know about Internships!
University is a lot of fun but when it is coming towards an end the jitters of starting a professional career set in. The best way to deal with this is to rely on previous experience! Here is where an internship comes handy. The Master’s programmes at WUR have an internship as a part of the two year study. This is usually done at the end of second year. The internship is usually for a minimum of 24 ECTS (4 months) but can be for more as well. But when and how do you approach it?? Well, you are at the right place 😀 !!
Lets break it down to make it simpler.
The first question that you may wonder about is .. WHEN? When do you start looking for an internship? It is definitely wise to begin looking atmost 5 months before the time you want to start. So say you want to start your internship in March, start from October. This of course is a broad timeline. Looking for an internship a long time before you intend to start is not advised. Companies or firms usually prefer people starting as interns to begin soon depending on the vacancies they have. They also cannot plan too far in the advance projects for interns starting in the future however, you can always try your luck.
The next important question is… HOW?
Now here there is a couple of tips that can help you.
- Contact the internship coordinators of your study! Each department has internship coordinators who usually have a list of contacts and a database of places where students previously interned. Fixing a meeting with these coordinators can get you started in the search.
- Professors or supervisors are also people you can approach to get suggestions about internships. They may have useful contacts or tips for you, making life easier when you have not much experience looking for an internship or a job.
- LinkedIn is your best friend! Companies often put up vacancies on their profile. So keep an eye out for anything that interests you. P.S. Application via LinkedIn is pretty straightforward 🙂 Messaging HR managers, scientists or employees from your dream company is also an option but the chances they go unanswered is also rather high. This might be a good time to use your LinkedIn Premium trial 😛
- Do not wait for people to offer you guidance. Go get it yourself. Keep looking out for offers on websites. Send out mails to companies asking for an opportunity. Don’t leave a page unturned.
Finally the most important part of the process….WHAT?
What do you need to be prepared with? This could be the deciding factor when there is cut throat competition. You need to stand out and be the one the company or institute chooses. What can you do?
- Have your CV on point. Keep only relevant information and your best achievements. CV checks are offered by organisations like Integrand or student career services. Use the opportunity.
- Most professional settings ask for a motivation letter to assess your reasons to apply and your interest in them. Do not send out one letter to all places!! Personalize it depending on the project or company you apply for. This is KEY. This is your best shot at convincing the company to invite you for an interview so read up about the company and the project well. The effort you put in will definitely reflect on your letter.
- If you get selected for an interview, PREPARE for it. LinkedIn and YouTube have commonly asked questions in interviews and how to tackle them. Brush up on your technical concepts that could possibly show your suitability for the project you want to be a part of. (Quick tip : Dress well when you attend interviews to show you are serious about your interest in the company).
Once you land your dream internship, there are formalities and paperwork that you need to get done before you can officially set foot into the professional environment you always dreamed of! But that is for another blog. Keep an eye out for this space for more information on that.
Read the linked blog for more about internships : https://weblog.wur.eu/international-students/2020/01/15/go-get-your-internship/
Getting an internship is a time staking process and can take upto a couple of months. Don’t give up and keep trying. You never know which hit would be a success. Comment below for tips you found useful when looking for an internship yourself!! Good luck internship hunting 😀