About the Author: Bhavya Shrivastava is pursuing B.Tech in Civil Engineering from JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida. She provides insightful details about how she got an internship in her first year itself and how it helped her gain valuable experience.
As my semester break began, I wanted to gain some meaningful work experience in the holidays. However, being a first-year student of civil engineering, neither did I have enough knowledge nor skills to actually achieve that. One day, while surfing on the internet for ways to utilize one’s holidays, I stumbled upon Internshala. I was really intrigued when I realized that I could actually secure an internship in the first year itself. The availability of work from home internships was an icing on the cake. Choices like content writing, social media marketing etc. were very feasible for a first-year student with no substantial technical skills. Also, many marketing and sales internships didn’t require one to have an MBA degree. I searched and read about various internships thoroughly and shortlisted the ones that matched my interest. Filling out the applications for various internships was a new experience in itself. I used to visit the official sites of the companies to know the details of what they did, how they worked etc. before applying. I applied for around 10-12 internships at once and waited anxiously to hear back from the companies.
I didn’t get any response for the first few days, but soon I received an email from Abhilash Consultancy Services (ACS) that I had been shortlisted for their second round of recruitment. In the second round, they sent a video that introduced ACS to me, explained what the company did, and my roles and responsibilities as an intern. A Google Doc was sent alongside which had questions like what I expected from the internship, how much time I could devote, how comfortable I was in handling teams etc. I answered them with utmost sincerity. A few days later, I received another email stating that I had been shortlisted for their final round of recruitment. In this round, they sent me a Dropbox link which had many PDF files and videos which showed the company’s working methodologies. The video also explained the targets that I was supposed to achieve and whom to contact for different purposes.
I went through those documents and answered the questions. And pretty soon, I was hired as a virtual Human Resource (HR) intern. A sense of achievement surmounted me. On the first day of my internship, they held an online conference and orientation call, wherein all the new HRs were introduced to the company’s seniors and were briefed about their work. As the HR manager, I was supposed to create and manage a team of engineering students which would deliver 1000 MCQs per month related to their respective branches of engineering. ACS provided the list of engineering students that it had hired to work as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), under the HR managers. An equal number of SMEs were allocated to all the HRs and we were supposed to contact them and let them know that they will be working with us. In this manner, all the HRs created a team. I was very excited as I had always loved interacting with new people. Some of the SMEs that were allocated to me left the work without even starting, while some of them didn’t understand the work. There were many problems as the internship commenced, but I took them as challenges and did my best to tackle them. I started hiring SMEs from my own contacts & liaisons and started solving each and every query of the SMEs. All this while, the project managers of ACS were very helpful and supportive. Even when my progress was not up to the mark and I was lagging in achieving targets, all of them helped and supported me.
In the first month, I had a team which only had 5 active SMEs. I could barely deliver 100 questions while I was expected to deliver 1000. Next month, I requested for more SMEs and I was provided with a list of around 20 SMEs. I contacted them and successfully minted a team of 11 SMEs. I created a WhatsApp group and allocated them with their first tasks. I always maintained a friendly relation with all my SMEs and listened ardently to all their issues personally. This was the key factor of my working methodology. All of my SMEs could talk to me if they had any kind of issues. This way, I got to improve my communication skills as well.
Since it was a work from home internship, I used to work after I returned from college. I was supposed to monitor the working of SMEs, allocate them topics as per their interests, and forward their MCQs to the company. There was a weekly meeting organized by the company where all the HRs provided the status of their work and received feedbacks from the company. HRs were also given presentations about various corporate requirements such as E-mail etiquettes. There was an appreciable transparency in the work as all the HRs were supposed to update their status daily on Trello. All the updates were visible to every HR so that we could see the progress of other HRs and improve our methodologies as well. Slowly, I uplifted my team’s efficiency and morale. As a result, in the month of October, I was finally able to deliver 1000 MCQs. It was an incredible feeling when I achieved the target. I gained a good professional experience within the first year of my college life and got the opportunity to interact with many engineering seniors which helped me broaden my horizons. And, not to forget, I gained valuable managerial experience.
To all the fellow students, landing an internship in the first year might seem difficult but it’s not impossible. Before applying for any internship, please visit the website of the company; explore and discover what the company is all about, how do they work, whether it suits your interest, and how you can be a valuable addition to them. When you get an email/ call for the interview, don’t get nervous; answer the questions with confidence. And, most importantly, keep updating your resume so that your profile catches the interest of the employers. If you are in the first year, include the major contests that you won/participated during school and mention the extra-curricular groups/activities that you were a part of.
I sincerely thank Internshala for boosting my confidence and for providing me a taste of the corporate world right from the beginning.