Internships that give you an edge

Chasing their dream jobs has become like a rat race for students in today’s scenario. While this competition certainly helps in improving your quality of education and skill set, it also poses a big challenge, which is ‘how to be exceptional and stand out from the crowd’. So the question is what skill or experience could you as a student gain that will make you stand out. Well, in the race of getting ahead in your career, you must be pursuing internships to gain real-time work experience, learn hands-on, and start your career at an early stage. Now, to get a step ahead of your peers, there is another thing which you could do — an internship abroad.

It is a little challenging to secure internships abroad; however, the learning and exposure you get are unquestionably worth the efforts you put in. These internships add a monumental value to your resume which puts you at an advantage when you are aspiring to pursue higher education abroad or are applying to your dream job, not to mention that they also teach you essential workplace skills as per global professional standards. For instance, you get a real exposure in cross-cultural competency when you intern abroad as you work with people from different nationalities. And it isn’t difficult to understand the kind of scope you have for learning in such a setting. In addition to this, foreign internships give you an opportunity to create an international network in your area of study.

How to find an internship abroad?

Before you start applying to internships in foreign lands, you need to ask yourself these three questions: 

 

What is my field of interest? 

The first step is to understand what your field of interest is. For instance, if you are a commerce student, you would have a variety of options in profiles like finance, marketing, human resources and operations. Here, you need to decide what intrigues you the most and whether you can see yourself pursuing a career in the same.

 

What am I expecting from the internship? 

After you have decided on the field, you need to discern your expectations from the internship. Assuming you want to pursue an internship in marketing, your expectations could include getting exposure into various aspects of marketing, gaining hands-on experience, specialising in one of the aspects say digital marketing, or getting a big brand’s name on your resume.

 

What are my best options?

The internet provides you with a plethora of opportunities. You could find internships matching your interests through online internship platforms. Once you have recognised your interests as well as your expectations from the internship, you could start shortlisting your options based on factors like your budget, organisations that meet your expectations, and the countries which offer good opportunities in the field. Even if your internship pays a good stipend, you might need to take care of your accommodation and international airfare which could prove to be surprisingly expensive, so make sure that you shortlist your options accordingly. To help you with the shortlisting, here are a few countries that provide the best opportunities in certain fields.

If you are interested in fields like accounting, finance, administration, management, hospitality, tourism, marketing, and public relations, you could look for opportunities in China, Singapore, London, Australia and Dubai.

If engineering (mechanical, manufacturing, civil, industrial, environmental, electrical, and electronics) is your calling, then your best options are USA, UK, Dubai, Germany and China.

If you want to pursue biochemistry, botany, zoology, marine biology, ecology, pharmaceuticals, environmental chemistry, or food technology, then your options are Costa Rica, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Denmark and Switzerland.

For internships in international relations, politics, and international development, you could search for internships in France, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.

If your interests lie in graphic design, film production, photography and performing arts, then you could find good opportunities in the USA, Japan and Sweden.

After you have sorted out the country, you could start researching about the companies that provide internships in your choice of profiles and start applying for the positions. For the application process, you could either go to each company’s individual website and apply from there itself or you could choose to apply through online internship platforms. Applying through online platforms would be the preferable approach since it saves you a bunch of time and hassle, bringing all the available opportunities on one platform.

 

How to make a good application?

Now that you have started applying to internships, how do you make sure that your application stands out? Here are some tips on making a good internship application -

Relevant resume: Before applying for a position, understand the requirements of the company well and customise your resume accordingly. Keep your resume short and precise, and make sure it doesn’t exceed one and a half pages. Highlight all the relevant details including your educational qualifications, skills, achievements and previous experiences. Also, it is a good practice to give a brief about the responsibilities you handled while interning.

Prepare a unique cover letter for every organisation -  A good cover letter helps the employer get a glimpse of your skills and competencies and demonstrates why you are a perfect fit for the position. It is crucial that your cover letter is completely authentic and customised as per the job requirements. For instance, for a management position, highlighting your programming skills is irrelevant; however, you could mention about an event you organised in your college, highlighting your management skills.

Also, since you are applying for an internship abroad, you could also mention if you are comfortable communicating in the native language of the country. It could prove to be a plus point for you.

Avoid grammatical errors: An employer receives thousands of applications and grammatical, spelling, or typographic errors are the last thing you would want to make on your resume. To avoid these, make sure you proofread your application a few times and if possible, get it proofread by a college senior or an elder. Other than this, you could also make use of online tools for basic spellcheck and tracking grammatical mistakes.

During the whole process of applying to the internships, there’s a possibility that you might not hear back soon. In such cases, you could write a polite and professional email to the recruiters following up your application. In fact, a well-written email will show the recruiter that you are sincere as well as comfortable communicating in a professional setting. 

Also, when you are trying your hand at something new, it is inevitable to face a few initial rejections. So, be patient, stay optimistic and keep on applying to suitable opportunities.

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