An internship is a learning program which is usually offered by a prospective employer to a potential employee, who is known as an intern.
The intern works in the organisation depending on the arrangements of the organisation. It could be from a fixed to a temporal time frame and can last for a period of 12 months.
Usually, interns are mostly students. Either from college or any level of education, however, graduates can and do serve as interns as well.
The sole purpose of internships is to gain experience in the job market. Some people do not place importance to where they serve as interns. However, most people target specifics industries related to their field or scope of the study.
In as much as every intern wants to gain experience in an industry, what the intern(s) does solely depends on the organisation.
Interns could serve as administrators, secretariats or even as editors depending on the industry.
So, how do you get an internship?
How to Get Internship
Finding an internship and a good one for that matter can be very depressing. However, this should not be the case. There are several ways you can land a good internship and much of it depends on your ingenuity.
Unsolicited Interns: one of the easiest ways to get an internship is by unsolicited means. Many industries would not openly post on job boards or their websites that they need interns. Hence the only way of getting them is to walk uninvited to the organisation and ask for the opportunity to serve as an intern.
However, one thing you should have in mind is to be prepared for any eventualities. For instance, you could be interviewed on the spot. Be prepared to answer all questions to your best capability, this could be your opportunity.
Write a Resume: when setting out to look for internship opportunities, one of the factors you must put in place is your resume. In fact, this should be the first step to take. Your resume should be well structured to meet the standards. If you have no work experience, state your program of study and some causes you are studying or have studied related to the industry.
For instance, if you’re studying journalism and want an internship, you can state media law as one of your subjects of study.
Let your School Connect you: most schools, especially tertiaries have career centres which are meant to assist students by way of connection, advice and also help you search for a job.
For instance the University of Ghana, Legon has such career centres which support students to acquire jobs or internship opportunities both within the country and abroad. Find the career centres in your school and let them help you get that internship.
Work With your Lecturers: lecturers are the most connected to the job market and thus have every capacity to help you land an internship position. Don’t keep your dreams of being an intern to yourself, have a chat with your lecturers and see what they would do for you.
Tap into Professional Associations: professional associations are the next thing close to a family you can get in your chosen career field. These associations are usually made up of executives’ and other professionals in a particular industry.
What is the catch here? Join any professional association associated with your field of study or career choice and keep a regular tap on them. Who knows, they could well link you to a big internship opportunity.
Networking: get your networking skills working. Connect with family, friends and other acquaintances and let them know your plans of getting an intern opportunity.
The good thing about this is that whenever such an opening comes along, any of them can get you connected.
Use Job Boards: job boards such as job house Ghana are very open with internship postings. Others also give the same service and hold lots of resources to help you find your opportunity.
Internship Tips for a Successful Internship
Landing a good internship is more than a just plain resume building exercise. This is an opportunity to learn, explore and set things in the right perspective for professional growth. Let’s have a look at how to make the most of it.
- Test yourself
An internship is an ideal place to try new skills and roles, as you will be assisted and guided to succeed by a group of experienced individuals. This is an opportunity to discover your strengths and ability to work on solutions that are fresh and creative.
Push yourself as much as you can, put your every skill to test and gain new ones. Through experimentation and trial-and-error, you will learn what kind of work you enjoy and are looking for as a career.
- Consult your supervisors regularly
Always seek feedback! Speak to your supervisors on the development you are making and solutions you want to try. Grab this opportunity to ask questions and extract all the knowledge you can from your mentors. This will not only help you improve your work during your internship, but will also help you grow as a successful professional. This practice will also demonstrate that you’re thoughtful and eager to progress in your profession.
- Go the extra mile
At your internship, you will be exposed to real business issues in the form of projects. Take advantage of that! Let your managers know that you’re enthusiastic to take up more responsibility.
Move around, speak to other teams and learn about their projects too. Do not confine yourself. Proactively looking for more tasks and seeking information will help you improve your understanding of the overall work and business and will also make your hours well spent.
- Network and then network more
While you need to give your best at the tasks you have been assigned, it’s also important to build a strong network. Every conversation is a networking opportunity. Get away from your desk and make connections.
Your colleagues can share relevant knowledge and information that can help you accomplish your tasks, and they may become important contacts for future projects. Additionally, networking will help you build up your list of professional contacts that can help you with a strong reference and in some cases, potentially set you up for a job.
- Leave a lasting impression
Building a strong relationship with your supervisors and co-workers can take some time, but it’s worth every bit of effort.
Work towards it systematically, have a positive outlook towards people and work, display a good work ethic, and be resourceful and pleasant to work with. Be somebody your co-workers can depend on and would love to collaborate with.
A good rapport with them will also mean that they can vouch for you when there is a job vacancy. Make sure you take the extra step to keep in touch with them even after your internship is over.