What is an internship and how to get one – The complete handbook!

What is an internship and how to get one - The complete handbook

While Rick Sanchez was wandering through the multiverse, Summer and Morty got into a conversation. Summer, whose semester break is just around the corner, is applying for internships, and Morty, of course, has a lot of questions about internships. Let’s take a look at the conversation and clear our own doubts regarding the meaning of internship and how to apply for an internship!

‘Summer, what are internships for college students?’

What is an internship?
An internship is a short-term opportunity offered by organisations to students and graduates to gain work experience. As an intern, for a limited period of time (ranging from a week to 6 months), you’ll go to the office, work on real-time projects, pick up industry-relevant skills, and get paid for your services. In short, an internship is a mechanism to bridge the gap between what is taught in classrooms and what industries look for in recruits.

Are trainings and internships the same thing?
Yes, they’re as similar as star and starfish. Wait, what? Exactly! Training and internship are two completely different terms. A training refers to a series of lessons (offline or online) that are aimed at developing a particular skill while an internship is an opportunity to work in an organisation and contribute to its projects. Think of it like this – I did a training in Android from Internshala Trainings, and I did an internship at Zomato and worked on Android development.

Cool, and what does an intern do?
If the poor soul of Munna Jazbaati, serving coffee and taking print-outs of anything and everything comes to your mind when you think of the word ‘intern’, you are in for a surprise.
An intern does a variety of tasks in an organisation depending on the field and nature of the internship. Interns are entrusted with real responsibilities that are significant to the organisation and are assigned bits of a project in most cases. For instance, as a marketing intern, you’d be responsible for designing and executing marketing strategies, meeting with customers and explaining the product, and establishing relations with clients.

‘Wow! Sounds interesting. What are the different types of internships?’
‘Morty, one can look for two types of internships.’

1. Paid internships – In these internships, students are offered a fixed amount of money, known as stipend, for their services. The stipend could be paid weekly or monthly and can range from 1K – 30K.
2. Unpaid internships – These are generally research and government internships offered by non-profit organisations such as NITI Aayog, IISc, etc. and volunteering opportunities offered by non-government organisations such as CRY, WWF, etc. Another type of unpaid internship is apprenticeship wherein a student learns a skill under the guidance of a master like learning music from a renowned musician.

Another categorisation of internships is based on the work hours that one has to devote.
1. Full-time (in-office) internships – Full-time internships are offered during summer or winter vacations and typically last for a duration of 4-12 weeks. An intern goes to the office and works for 8-9 hours every day.
2. Part-time internships – Ideal for college-going students, part-time internships require you to work for 10-20 hours a week. They have a flexibility in terms of working from home and going to the office only on a few days of the week. Aamina, for example, goes to the office for 2 days a week in the second half and works from home for the rest of the week.
3. Virtual/Online internships – When you cannot skip classes because 75% attendance is mandatory but want to do an internship, virtual internships present themselves as a bang-on solution! Online internships require you to work for 2-3 hours daily from home and offer you a learning opportunity, work experience, and a stipend, of course.

‘But Summer, why do you want to do an internship?’
‘Morty, you know Uday – my friend from India? He was in the second year of his college when he applied to a proofreading and client interaction internship at Internshala. He completed his 6-month internship and got a pre-placement offer. Imagine, a guy who hasn’t even graduated working for a company and drawing a salary!’
‘Don’t be so confused, let me tell you about the benefits of an internship in detail.’

Objectives of an internship
1. Gain experience – An internship is like a test-drive for your career. Interning in your field of study gives you an experience of how you’d utilize your knowledge and skills in a real-time work environment. It helps you understand how an organisation functions and the roles played by different departments in a company.

2. Explore your career options – Just because you’re getting an engineering or management degree, it doesn’t mean you’re passionate about it. Internships, being short-term opportunities, give you a chance to try your hand in a variety of fields until you discover your true calling.

3. Pick up industry-relevant skills – With rapid advancements in technology happening by the second, it is difficult for academia to keep pace. Internships offer you an opportunity to work on the latest technologies and learn the methods used in the industry. Also, you get a realistic picture of what an industry expects from you, learn to put things in practice, and instill in yourself a number of life skills including working in a team, communication, time management, ownership, and empathy.

4. Land your dream job – Nothing says you’re the most deserving candidate for a job than an internship on your resume. With a work experience to show for and industry-relevant skills, you are the perfect fit in the ‘Company ka Swayamvar’. Some organisations also offer a pre-placement offer to the interns that perform exceptionally well.

And what’s more? You get a handsome stipend for interning with a company – you can even buy an Xbox!

To sum up the importance of internships, let’s have a look at Pratyush’s career. Not knowing what he wanted to do, Pratyush got into the science stream. After struggling with the subjects, it didn’t take him very long to realise that he didn’t want to pursue engineering or medicine. During his college, he did internships in graphic design, web design, content writing, and social media marketing and found his true love – design. These internships gave him the exposure required to excel in this field and now, just after two years of graduation, he is leading a team of 5 and is responsible for creating cutting-edge multimedia content.

‘Summer, what are the most common profiles in which students look for internships?’

1. Management internships – With an increase in the number of students looking for a career in management, it has become one of the most popular internship categories offering opportunities in human resources, sales, marketing, operations, etc.
2. Design internships – Owing to the vitality of user experience in making a business successful, organisations are actively hiring design interns in profiles like UI/UX design, graphic design, and product design.
3. Engineering internships – With rapid technological advancements, there is no dearth of internships for engineering students. From programming profiles like web development and Android to core engineering profiles like VLSI, instrumentation, and CAD design, you can apply for internships according to your profile.
4. Media internships – Students can find a wide range of opportunities such as content writing, social media marketing, journalism, editorial, video making, etc. fuelling to the demand of media internships.
5. NGO internships – Volunteering is a fulfilling experience that exposes you to a whole new world of opportunities and gives you a new perspective on life. Students can look for NGO internships across different profiles and do their bit for societal development.

‘But how will you get an internship? Rick is not around to help you.’
‘Morty, bygone are the times when we needed the referral of our relatives to find an internship.’

How to get an internship?
1. College placement cell – Many colleges invite companies from all over the country to provide internship opportunities to students during vacations.
2. Applying for an internship online – Plenty of organisations offer summer and winter internship opportunities to students across various profiles; you can visit their official careers page and apply for an internship or send a mail to the HR executive directly. (Quick tip: Keep your resume and cover letter handy. Read this article to make a resume for internships).
3. InternshalaThe Pandora’s box of magic! With internships available throughout the year across all profiles for everyone from school students to graduates, Internshala offers you a plethora of options to choose from and launch your career.

How to apply for an internship on Internshala?
Applying for an internship through Internshala is pretty simple. All you have to do is register here. After this, you’ll receive a verification link via email. After successful verification, fill in your details to make your resume and that’s it! Start applying to internships that seem interesting by replying to a simple ‘Why should you be hired for this internship?’ question. If you’re hired for an internship, not only will you receive a cool stipend but also get an internship certificate.

To enhance your chances of getting an internship, you can go through these secrets of getting hired through Internshala.

So what’s your takeaway? Don’t just scroll through social media, work as a social media intern. Don’t just spend your nights playing video games, intern as a game developer. Don’t just edit your friends’ assignments, work as a writing and editing intern. Do an internship that matters!

‘Wait, where are you going Morty?’
‘You said Internshala offers internships to school students as well. I’m applying for an internship at Dexter’s Lab.’

Image credits: businesswest.co.uk

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  • May 15, 2020 at 6:28 AM

    For applying an internship did u need to have that skill or will they help us to learn that skill

    • May 15, 2020 at 1:14 PM

      Hi Suchethan,

      It’s not mandatory to have relevant skills while applying for internships of your interest. However, having a basic knowledge of the skill sets that the employer is looking for, will significantly improve your chances of landing the internship. I hope this answers your query.

      Wish you good luck!


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