Internship Guides for College/University Students
3 Questions College Students Should Ask Yourself Now
We all understand how important it is, to secure an internship experience before graduation. A relevant internship displayed on your resume might give you an extra advantage over applicants vying for the same job because employers know that graduates with no practical experience might lack the actual ability to perform.
However, before you jump into the application frenzy, it is important to start your internship hunt with a good understanding of yourself and what it is that you want. It is always better to have a clear direction set in mind to avoid wasting time applying for internships you later realise you have no interest in. An hour of planning might just save you a few more hours of doing!
With that said, where can you start? There are 3 important questions you can ask yourself to gain a clearer understanding of what exactly you are looking for.
1. Where does your passion lie?
While this might be a difficult question to answer for some of us, it is time to start thinking about it as it is an important part of deciding which career path you want to embark on. If you struggle to find the answer to this question, one good way to find out would be through speaking with different people, be it seniors in school or people you connected with during networking events. A conversation with people who have been there, done that and finding out about their journey might just inspire you to pursue a path you never knew was possible.
One thing to note, however, is that nothing beats trying out these experiences for your own. While you might have spoken to a hundred people and heard a thousand stories, know that you hold the ultimate key to direct your own life’s movie. Nevertheless, once you have a clearer idea of where your interest or passion lies, you are now one step closer to being ready to find out if that potential interest is really right for you through an internship.
2. What skillsets do you possess and plan to gain?
On to a more practical note, taking up an internship allows you to hone both your soft skills and your technical skills. Now it’s time to reflect on your past experiences and think of the skills you currently possess. The experience could come from anywhere, it could be a project that you have done in school, an organising committee you have been a part of or a student club that you have joined. All of which could bring you meaningful learning points and skills that can be transferable to work.
Make a running checklist of the skills that you already possess and those that you wish to gain. As you go along, strike each item off and add it to the list of skills possessed. The idea when creating this list is to be as specific as possible, and one way you can do so is by looking at experienced professionals’ CVs to have a better idea of what people in the industry are actually doing.
This checklist will act as a good compass for you to navigate through the sea of job openings and pinpoint which are the ones that would be valuable to you at every point in time.
3. What kind of environment do you work best in?
Lastly, it is important to know what is the kind of learning environment that you can best thrive in. While some prefer established companies that already have a fixed set of systems in place, some prefer startups and its dynamism. One good way to find out would be by speaking to people who work in different environments and ask them the pros and cons of each.
Though, bear in mind that everyone has their unique preferences and you might not know until you have worked in that environment for yourself. However, working in teams at school can also give you some insights as to what is your working style and preference.
Know what works best for you and keep that in mind while hunting for an internship.
Once you have all these questions thought through, hopefully now you have a clearer vision of the ideal internship you are looking for. Reminder that this process of self-discovery is an ongoing process that never ends, so don’t rush to settle for an answer. Trust the process and enjoy the journey!