With summer vacation knocking at the door, another nightmare has started poking into the geeky minds of most engineers – Internship.
Yes, a crucial, often overlooked aspect of your four-year curriculum, Internships actually help you build the bridge between your classroom and the centrally air – conditioned 4x4 cubicle (recliners and bean bags for some lucky ones) waiting for you in that big pretentious corporate world out there. When you miss this important opportunity where you can actually apply your concepts in a sort of sand-boxed environment, you are already depriving yourself from an essential expertise which most of your colleagues would be having later. It is high time to ask yourself this question: Why should you let your peers have a competitive edge over you?
Internships introduce you to the actual work-flow being followed in the industry at present. Imagine the following scenario:
Jayesh is a second-year Computer Science Engineering undergraduate at a non-premier engineering institute in India. His curriculum has introduced him to the concepts and algorithms of data-structure, operating systems etc. Jayesh is a pro-active student (considering a best-case scenario here) and has himself taken up the task to code the DS algorithms himself and been successful in doing so. However, a doubt still lingers in his mind. Where is this data-structure actually used? How is it used? Why is this particular DS algorithm used? But neither his friends nor his professors have actually been able to clarify his doubt.
Now, Jayesh asks one of his seniors, Pratyush for help. Pratyush recommends him to apply for an internship. He even recommends Jayesh to apply for a particular start-up founded by Pratyush’s brother. Pratyush even sent a recommendation to his brother regarding Jayesh’s candidature.
Pratyush’s brother’s start-up is a video-game company. Having a reliable recommendation and considering Jayesh’s pro-active nature, he was selected as an Intern in the start-up. After getting accustomed to the work-flow and culture at the start-ups, it was time for Jayesh to learn while working on actual product, which would be used by millions of people soon. For the first time Jayesh was exposed to the concepts of Binary Space Partition, Heaps etc. at a much-advanced level, which would have never been taught in his DS classes. Jayesh could now relate to the concepts he learnt at class and actually apply them to work on advanced algorithms.
Considering Jayesh’s hunger for learning and his energetic attitude, he was offered a PPO at the same start-up. Although he accepted the offer, within two years, (now equipped with both internship and work experience) he was selected in one of the biggest Software companies of the world. Jayesh couldn’t thank his senior enough for his valuable advice and recommendation.
Yes, it is important to know and actually work on the concepts you’ve learnt in class before you actually work full time. Internships not only gives you the requisite technical skills, it builds you as a complete professional even before you graduate. Once you graduate with an Internship in your CV, companies can be assured that you are aware of the work culture in the corporate and industrial sector and your chances of employability increases manifold.
Now, most of the students who were aware of this, and have applied in almost every possible companies for an internship but failed, would fret that it is almost impossible to convert an internship. But, believe me, it is not. To convert an internship, you need to follow a set of protocols and procedures and be rest assured you will be interning in a start-up/company pretty soon.
These are some of the steps and protocols one should follow which would boost his/her chances in getting that internship offer.
Where to apply?
This is one of the first questions that comes to the mind, once a candidate has decided that he will be interning at a company in the upcoming vacations. Well, there are numerous choices.
i) Start-ups are one of the best options to intern. They are themselves growing and they work on the latest industry standards. Interning at a start-up will help you upgrade your skills to the most updated tools and technologies. Although the pay will be on the lower sides (not always though), the learning quotient would be very high. Start-ups are an amazing place to learn while on the go.
ii) MNCs or IT companies, too, offer internships. Although they are not huge in number, still they may be considered. The learning quotient and pay are average.
iii) The cliched internships at the software giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft etc. These are highly competitive and are the most prestigious internships. The competitions too are very high. No doubt, both the pay and learning are towards the higher end of the curve.
How to apply?
After deciding upon the previous question, next comes another dubious question: How to apply?
i) One of most reliable methods of applying is through referral. Get hold of your seniors, family members, friends who can recommend you in their company.
ii) In many colleges, companies come to the colleges to hire interns. For such companies stay in touch with your TNP cell.
iii) Get in touch with HRs of companies through LinkedIn. Ask them for vacancies, send your resumes. They will help you with the internship opportunities. Please note, asking for help is different from spamming. DO NOT bombard their inboxes with messages. Be patient. While sending a message, be precise with your queries and doubts. HRs are busy persons, don’t beat around the bush.
iv) You can apply through the companies’ career pages. Though, the chances of converting the offer through the career page is often quite bleak, it is still an official channel to apply for an open position. You should follow this, if none of the other options are possible.
v) Founders and Co-Founders of start-ups are all over social media be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AngelList etc. Get in touch with them. Again, spamming their inbox and mails is a big no-no.
vi) You can apply through NFLY, which connects job seekers to start-ups.
Keep your resume short and precise. Do not let your resume exceed more than two pages. The person reading your resume is busy with his/her daily chores. Keep it concise and compelling for the reader to consider your CV for acceptance. Skip achievements like “Won Sack Race in 5th standard” etc. Highlight your contributions to open source forums, your GitHub projects etc.
Do the homework before applying
Know about the company you are applying to. Read the companies’ blogs, newsletters etc. Try to go through their YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn Profiles. Know what the companies are up to these days. See the pitching videos of the start-ups you are applying to. If possible use the products of the start-ups before applying. Point out the glitches, add-ons in your application. It shows your interest in the company and their product. It increases your chances of being selected. Go through the job description (if) posted in the job sites before applying.
Find someone who can recommend you. If a family member of the Founder of the start-up can recommend you, both yours and the Founders’ task of selecting you becomes easier. If that is not possible, a mail from you Dean, Principal of your college would not do harm. Get someone reliablewho can vouch for you.
Be sure to be clear about what you expect from the internship before applying. Start-ups are not a place which can offer you hefty pay cheques. They can definitely pay you in hefty amounts in knowledge. Be sure to know your expectations from the internship before applying. If you are applying, just for that one line on your CV, you better refrain yourself from doing the internship.
i) First and foremost, create a professional email id. firstname.lastname@example.org is highly unprofessional. Always try to send the applications for your internship from your college email viz. email@example.com . If that is not available, try to use a more professionally named email like,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Make the email id look professional.
ii) Ensure that your mail is grammatically correct. Read the mail twice or thrice before sending. Apply the spell check before sending. Your mail will be the first thing that will introduce you to the company. Poorly constructed sentences, bad grammar and erroneous spellings leave a bad impression on your candidature.
If you are planning to intern in the summer vacations, start your company scavenging in early November and December. Why wait for the resumes to pile up? Start early, so that you don’t have to rush with your applications and overlook minor details and errors. Stay ahead of time and be composed and relaxed.
And, remember, getting the internship offer is not the end of the journey. It is the mere beginning. Try to utilize the one or two month to its fullest and maximize your skill set and learning as much as possible. This will be your one of the few opportunities in your life which you will cherish forever.