Internship: how can it lead to employment?

October 31, 2014

Having read my previous post – Five ideas to make the best of your internship, one of my interns requested me to share some ideas on how to move from internship to employment.

Two questions that bother most interns are: When should one start applying for jobs? And, where should one look for jobs?

I would offer the following tips:

  1. Internship is a way to pretest your career option:  You may decide to seek employment in the same field or sector; or explore another area. Some even decide to go back to school and pursue something entirely different.
  2. Remember, you are making a career choice: People look for different things in a job: a high profile organization to be associated with (it looks fantastic on the CV!); a preferred country to work in; convenience etc. All this is ok but the main issue to ponder over is: does the job provide a good learning opportunity in the chosen career? After all, you are making a career choice. Therefore, the scope of work is more important than the name of the organization. Often, smaller organizations provide greater learning opportunities.
  3. Internship and job hunt go hand in hand: Don’t wait for the internship to be over to start the job hunt. I really appreciate the Syni programme that aims to enhance employment opportunities and collaborates with different organizations. They have a good policy. Their candidates are supposed to work for 80 per cent of their time in an organization and commit the rest of the time to job search: preparing applications, updating the CV and attending various trainings to enhance skills.
  4. Know your organization’s policy with regards to interns: Some organizations have a policy of not offering employment to their interns for a fixed period of time, following the internship. Get to know the policy of the organization you are interning with and plan your strategy accordingly.
  5. Develop your professional network: The main advantage of an internship is that you get to know professionals and develop a networkThis network can provide you important information on potential job opportunities as well as guide you on how to go about it. Remember to take a letter of recommendation from your supervisor. Also, check with the supervisor/others if you could put their name as a referee on your CV.

Finally, how you write your internship experience on your CV is very important.  You must be honest and succinctly capture it under two areas: what was your main contribution? and, What did you learn during the internship?