This is often the most dreaded time of the year for college students. Finding an internship, the perfect one that combines one's passions, ambitions and professional skill development is not easy, especially with the ever-so-growing number of opportunities and increasing competitors around the world.
Whether or not this upcoming internship is your first professional experience, the fear of not finding any job by the deadline or being disappointed usually results in increased stress levels. So many factors have to be taken into consideration: the location, the company, the position, personal motivation… So the earlier the problem is taken at hand, the better the project will turn out to be.
Here are some steps to starting looking for the perfect internship that suits you best.
Starting university studies while having no clue of what you want to do after graduating is a pretty scary idea. Furthermore, considering a six months (or more) placement when you don’t know what excites you most is just as worrisome. Motivation is a key element you should keep in mind when looking for an internship. Incidentally, that’s why employers make you go through interviews: no good work or self-fulfillment can be produced without motivation. So finding the perfect internship is first a matter of finding yourself. What are your ambitions? What drives you to reach the best of your skills? It may be responsibilities, the disparate situations, the team work… It all really just depends on your personality.
A great part of the work is done when your personal motivation has been made clear. The next step then, is to underline what specializations or specific fields you enjoy the most. This may come naturally due to the various courses you take at school - Yet, there is nothing wrong about having a look online on the internet or ask professionals about their job to further give you insight. It’s important to know what to expect, at least to the minimum, so that your employer gives you credit during an interview, and consequently, later at work. Of course, there is no need to be omniscient on your first day, and rather, it’s a question of impact you give around you. Remember how crucial the first impression is…
Eventually, finding a firm that suits you conveniently is as important as the previous points mentioned above. For sure there is the daily life with your co-workers, the team dynamic… But an administrative internship leads to great chances of ending up with a full-time job. So market yourself in the future and take the time to consider what a new network can provide you.
Every students has different priorities, but many of them clearly emphasize the importance of location over the company or the position. In fact, this factor turns out to be determining: living for several months abroad needs minutes of reflection. Is the life expensive? How is the night life? With these questions being clearly stated beforehand, you can pick up the points you consider as important with ease and build up a much more personal and pleasant experience. Keep in mind that an internship is not only a professional experience but also a personal one. You will make lifelong memories of your daily life, meet people and build new friendships… Get ready to shake up your habits and grow faster than you would at home!
Ultimately, how do you best figure out what to expect from a place you’ve never visited? Well, social media can be a great way to find out. Instagram posts and Facebook pages exist for pretty much every single city, and there’s nothing easier than catching a glimpse of these accounts to imagine how the life is going on there!
Furthermore, use your network. Ask your friends, family, teachers or peers who had a similar experience as the one you are seeking: they can reassure you, warn you or advise you with facts that you might not even have thought about. Once all factors are studied, the rest is then up to you...
Author: Léo Kleinpeter, EHL Bachelor student