Overseas Internships are a great way of gaining valuable experience of the world of work. Here are 5 ways that an overseas internship will help you when it comes to securing and passing those all-importantinterviews.
1) It can get you the interview in the first place. You will be competing with a great number of other candidates, many of whom will be similar to you in background. They may have the same grades, had a part-time job and have gotten some in-house experience. However, not everyone has internship experience abroad and this could really get your application to the top of the pile.
2) It’s what they will ask about. Interviewers are not only interested in your competency but they also want to get to know you. An exciting internship abroad really stands out as an obvious question to ask a candidate that they don’t really know very well yet.
3) They might have an interest in where you have been. This could be for any reason, they may have interest in the country or company, it may be somewhere the interviewer has always wanted to go, they may have been there (which will give you an easy way to build rapport) or if you are lucky, it may be a country they are doing or looking to business in – this will make you seem an obvious fit for the role.
4) It makes you seem interesting. It can sometimes be difficult to convey personality to an interviewer without fear of coming across negatively. Speaking about your internship abroad is a good way of telling about your life experiences in a way that is contextual for an interview. It also shows you are confident, willing to tackle challenges and adapt well to change.
5) It’s very easy to talk about. Among all the interview questions you could get, “tell me about your internship.” is a gift. Prepare some experiences and stories to tell, but usually because you will have had such a good time and so many memories of your time abroad, the stories will easily flow. This can calm your nerves as you being to feel confident in what you are saying. Talking about your internship this way can make you seem comfortable in a corporate setting and confident in your ability.
It’s not a stretch to say internships have become indispensable. The competition for jobs has never been stiffer. When making hiring decisions, Capital Placement notes, employers will lean heavily towards students who have at least some internship experience under their belts.
So, what does an intern do exactly?
Contrary to popular belief, completing an internship isn’t easy. If you think internships are about fetching coffee for everyone and generally riding on the team’s coattails, toss your expectations out the window. Modern intern roles – even the support kind – are as taxing and responsibility-ridden as full-time jobs!
It’s important you enter your internship with the right mindset. If you don’t know what to expect from your internship role, you’ll be better prepared and know what you need to do to succeed. Also, carrying out your intern responsibilities successfully will assist you in building up a potent skillset.
What is an intern?
An intern is a trainee who has signed on with an organization for a brief period. An intern’s goal is to gain work experience, occasionally some university credit, and always an overall feel for the industry they’re interning in.
Internships may be paid, partially paid, or unpaid. The engagement period may range from a handful of weeks up to 2 years. With longer-term internships, you’ll almost always be compensated in some way. The compensation may include a monthly wage, accommodation, travel expenses, and a food allowance.
Many companies require you to complete an internship with them before they even consider you for a full-time role.
What does an intern do?
So what does an intern do exactly? That depends on the industry in question and the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. Research internships come with a different set of roles and responsibilities than, say, an internship geared toward easing you into a full-time role.
An intern is primarily a support role – at least in the beginning. When you join up, your main job will be to assist, learn, and grow. After you’ve settled in, you’ll be expected to pull your own weight.
Here’s a general overview of the work you can expect to do as an intern:
1. Assist in day-to-day tasks
As an intern, don’t expect to spearhead a critical project anytime soon. But that’s by no means a bad thing. You’ll be groomed to spearhead projects in the future. Your boss will give you general errands to educate you on to the ins-and-outs of the organisation, to gauge your general skill set, and also to bring your skills up to par.
Here are some day-to-day intern roles and their responsibilities:
- Performing clerical duties: It’s almost a guarantee you’ll be taking memos, maintaining files, organising, sorting, creating PowerPoint presentations, drafting reports, and the like.
- Managing social media and emails: You may be asked to handle the company’s social media accounts, write emails to customers, talk to clients on the phone, and similar duties.
- Event handling: Interns are often asked to oversee the scheduling of appointments, organising conference rooms, and taking care of the food and drink.
- Research: Interns fresh from a university education have a great deal of up-to-date knowledge. Your organisation may put this knowledge to good use by placing you in a research role. You may be asked to assist in streamlining an organisation’s work process in some way.
2. Learn and gain experience
You’ll be expected to learn as much as you possibly can while you work, regardless of the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. What kind of learning will you be doing? It can be broken down into two main areas:
- Picking up hard skills: Hard skills are the technical skills you need to carry out your intern responsibilities, and eventually job duties, successfully. Examples include learning how to operate a computer program, drafting a company report, handling the company inventory, and maintaining the company database.
- Brushing up on your soft skills: Soft skills are as important as hard skills. Soft skills are all about your ability to relate to people and building mutually-beneficial relationships. Examples are talking, listening, conflict handling, time management, and development of empathy. You need soft skills to manage clients, not to mention get along with your bosses and colleagues.
3. Job shadow
Job shadowing has become the norm recently. As the name suggests, the practice involves “shadowing” someone as they perform their daily duties, observing their activities, and learning what the role entails via indirect experience. This is an especially popular practice in hands-on fields like engineering and healthcare.
How does this work exactly? When you join the organisation, you may be assigned a mentor. The first few weeks, you may be tasked with following them around. They’ll show you the ropes while they work. You may be asked to assist with light tasks here and there. You’ll be encouraged to ask questions. Eventually, you’ll be trained to take over the position and of intern roles.
4. Take on an increasing amount of responsibility
As time goes by, expect to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility. Initially, they’ll gauge your current skill set and reliability with “grunt” work. As you prove yourself to your colleagues and bosses, you’ll be entrusted with more crucial tasks. The better you perform, the more the responsibilities you’ll be given.
When you join as an intern, it’s always smart to give it your all. The work may feel uninspiring initially. That’s understandable. But if you can demonstrate enthusiasm and perform without complaining, you’ll slowly but surely work your way to the good stuff.
Interns who really impress their bosses can expect glowing recommendations, if not an offer for full-time work.
While networking isn’t an official requirement as such, it might as well be. Networking involves building relationships with your bosses, colleagues, and customers and clients. You’ll need the backing and support of people in places to build a successful career. Also, building good relationships with customers is always good for the organisation.
Here are some examples of the kind of networking interns do:
- Finding a mentor: Mentors act as anchor roles for interns. If you find a good one, you can follow in their footsteps and build a successful career just like your mentor.
- Forming a peer support group: Interning is hard. Finding a peer support group who is going through all the ups and downs with you will make it much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
- Getting in with bosses and coworkers: Interns who can build strong individual bonds with their coworkers and bosses become a part of the “family”. You’re much more likely to be offered a full-time role at the company down the road.
6. Make a career call
Finally, usually at the tail-end of your internship, you have to make a career-defining decision: continue in the field you interned in or try your hand at something else entirely.
You got a taste of what working in your industry full-time would be like. Did you love the experience and can’t wait to dive back in again? Or do you feel you’d be happier doing something else?
Internships are usually short-term. They’re smaller investments in time and energy than full-time jobs. Consequently, they’re perfect opportunities to explore your options. You deserve work that’s fulfilling. If necessary, you can sign up for a different but related internship role elsewhere to see if you’re happier there.
Your internship is going to shape the course of your career. It’ll assist you in acquiring the skills you need to perform up-to-par when you’re hired full-time. It’s essential you use your internship as the training opportunity it represents.
You’re sure to have a bright future if you work hard, build positive relationships, and remain grateful for the internship opportunity. Capital Placement can assist you in securing a life-changing internship opportunity abroad, in line with your talents, skill-set, and career goals. Reach out to us now!
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