Tips on searching for an internship


Nearing the end of ones studies or exploring a new career path can be a stressful
time for an individual. Students all want to land the perfect internship to start a
promising future in the industry of their choice, however the competition is intense
as many students are hoping for the same opportunities.

Human capital management solutions provider Manpower South Africa?s Managing
Director, Lyndy Van Den Barselaar, offers a few tips to help students and people
planning a career change, on how to find internships.

1. Stay on top of the industry you are interested in.

"Companies face thousands of applications for internships, therefore you need to
stand out and make an impression. Showing passion about the field you are
interested in will make an impression, and prove that you are truly passionate about
the industry and willing to learn more,' says Van den Barselaar. Easy ways to stay
up-to-date are researching the latest industry news daily via the Internet, signing up
for industry newsletters and joining online or physical groups in your field to make
networking easy.'

2. Start as early as possible to gain job experience.

Many potential employers are interested in the level of experience one has in the
field. Therefore, it is advised that students start looking for job experience in the
field they are interested in advance, to gain a competitive advantage over other
potential interns. "If your degree is broad, being proactive and gaining exposure in
the various industries or types of work will allow for you to make an informed decision
about your chosen career path,' says Van Den Barselaar.

3. Start looking in advance

Researching and applying for internships well in advance could also be of
advantage to students, or those looking to change career paths. "Some job offers
are posted within weeks of the position needing to be filled, and some months
before. Make sure to search well in advance, to ensure you have time to prepare for
your interview and that you can find placement. Be proactive and search the
Internet, newspapers and other sources each and every day,' she suggests.

4. Where to look

Many people believe that the only way to find internships is on the internet.
While this is important starting point, it is important not to limit yourself. A number of
websites have been designed in order to help interns find internships so doing
research on these sites will make finding internships less stressful.

Another way in which to find internships is by contacting companies and asking if
they have any positions open. "Not only will this ensure you have covered all your
bases, but will also show interest and initiative - two positive aspects for job
seekers,' says van den Barselaar. Further, many universities and colleges set up
websites or committees that deal with internship opportunities, and students should
make use of these.

5. Don?t limit yourself.

While most job seekers or students would prefer to gain experience at a large,
well-known company, it is important not to limit oneself. "It is important to remain
open-minded when searching for internships. Experience in the industry is the most
important factor of finding an internship, and small companies can provide this
experience just as well as large corporations can. It may even be a little less
stressful to start out at a smaller and more intimate company. Keep an open mind,'
concludes van den Barselaar.