In this article on internships, Career Coach, Monica Majithia answers all your internship questions with tips on how to apply for online internships in 2021.
Internship experience can benefit both students and organisations. But how do internships work, which are the best internships for you, how do you apply for internships and can you get online internships during COVID-19?
Get the answers to all your internship questions, with tips on how to apply for work-from-home internships or remote internships in 2021, in this article on internships by our Career Counsellor, Monica Majithia.
What is the definition of internships?
The definition of internships is short-term work experience offered by organisations or employers to students and fresh graduates to gain practical experience and exposure to the work environment.
How do internships work?
Employers have an internship work plan – depending on what they want the intern to do and their policies – whether or not they are looking to hire the interns or keep them on for short term projects or research. They reach out to local colleges and recruit on the basis of interviews.
Are internships only for students?
No, internships are offered to freshers, graduates and even professionals – Protern is the term for professionals who intern at organisations while both figure out whether the short stint can create value and lead to a lasting work arrangement.
Even when upskilling mid-career, many academic programmes, even online ones offer internship opportunities. It’s a great opportunity to explore, get a feel of the work culture and develop skills.
Are internships worth it?
Definitely internship experience is valuable both for the interns and the organisation. Interns gain experience and real exposure to the professional world. They learn about expectations, responsibilities and work challenges.
Internships are the best way to find one’s calling, learn about the career you have an interest in and understand what the work you aspire to do is all about. It’s a first-hand look into work requirements, office dynamics and getting a handle on professional demands.
After internships, many freshers have either decided to look for a related stream or decided upon the career they were meant for. It’s a great way to be employment-ready and boost the skills needed for the job. This is true not only for college students but ‘Proterns’ or professional interns who are looking to switch professions.
What will work in your favour is how the experience and recommendation translate on your CV, in giving you an edge when applying for jobs in the future. Internships do translate into seriousness about work, employable skills, professional work ethic and help you stand out..
Why are internships important or valuable? What can internships teach you?
It’s important to get an idea of what it will be like to pursue any profession you choose and internships are a great way to get this exposure and learn a little about the professional environment and your career path.
Internships can help you learn the soft and hard skills needed in the workplace. They give you a window to work-life and workplace culture and help make the transition to a full-fledged career easier.
Learn how to get started with virtual internships in this video with SHEROES career coach, Monica Majithia.
- How internships benefit students
Internships can be started at the college level, even before graduation. In fact, it is recommended for students. It’s important to have professional experience before you actually start your work life and internships are a gateway to getting work experience.
Student internships can give you the right exposure and help you close the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. The insights you gain can lead to a more informed and positive approach to work, as well as increased confidence.
Internship experience gives students an opportunity to start building networking skills. It also helps you judge the suitability of various professions or work roles and make informed career choices from the options available to you.
You can also get academic credit for internships. Most interns are happy to get a recommendation letter as these are required for getting the required course credits.
Of course, this varies according to the academic institution and the course you’re pursuing. But internships can help you put together a quality CV that can improve your future prospects.
You’ll learn interpersonal skills, make connections and build a network, even if its an online internship. Most importantly, if done right, internships can also lead to real job offers.
- How internships benefit companies
Most organizations are happy to hire fresh graduates for economic reasons, as well as the fact that they get a ready pool of talent to choose from. Organisations get a chance to pick the best from a steady pool of young talent and create a community footprint.
It helps in brand building and recognition and opens opportunities for mentorship within the organisation. Besides this, internships are a low-cost option for reducing current employees workload, getting mundane work done, and improving processes within the organisation.
Can internships lead to jobs? Can internships get you a job? Does internship experience count for getting a job?
Internships can translate into job offers as it gives the organisation a chance to assess a candidate’s skills before hiring, which they cannot do with an employee. Internships are a great way to build job experience.
Internships of any kind count as professional experience and internship experience does help when applying for a job. It can often be the defining factor when choosing candidates for a job.
Internship experience (versus no experience whatsoever) implies a readiness towards work, as well as a proactive approach to one’s career.
Are internships and placements the same? Are internships and apprenticeships the same?
Placements imply an actual job offer, whereas internship is a short-term work opportunity.
An apprenticeship is an opportunity to learn specialized skills on the job from an experienced professional or craftsperson, whereas an internship is a generalized introduction to the world of work.
Will the internship count as employment? Where do internships go on a resume?
Internships count as work experience, but not necessarily as employment. One puts internships right after qualifications and skills but before work experience.
Can internships be done online? Are there online internships available?
Yes, especially after the pandemic, with everything going online, internships are also happening virtually. Virtual internships or online internships are the current trend and are offered by many firms.
Online teaching, digital marketing, content writing, social media marketing, online sales and a host of jobs in technology can be done online.
As far as getting paid for online internships is concerned, it varies. Some companies offer paid internships while others may give a stipend based on output.
Some firms may only give a professional recommendation. You can find both paid and unpaid online internships. Make sure you inquire and clarify this before signing up.
Internships and COVID – Will internships be virtual in 2021? Will COVID lead to more work-from-home internships?
Depending on how the workspace pans out in 2021, internship programs will follow the lead and lead to more remote internships.
There may be vocations where offline internships are required, but many platforms will opt for online internships or virtual internships because they have proved to be viable, useful, and can reduce the load on office infrastructure.
You must have a laptop or PC with a good internet connection to qualify for work-from-home internships as the communication happens through email and the work is mostly done online.
Are internships paid or unpaid?
Internships can be paid or unpaid. It depends on the organisation, the product, and the nature of work expected of interns and the company policies.
Should internships be paid or unpaid?
Internships should be paid in my opinion. It can be a motivating factor for a fresher and, in fairness, based on the principle of fair exchange. It can also lead to attracting the best of the talent.
Which internships are paid? What internships pay the most?
Many tech companies are known to offer high paying internships – Google, Uber, Microsoft, Bank of America, Citibank – offer the best-paid internships. These may be the best companies to intern for if you want a paid internship.
Will internships pay for housing?
Some companies may provide housing, but most don’t. The bigger firms could have intern apartments or hostels for housing. On-site internships might provide this, especially those in somewhat remote areas.
Summer internships, however, do not usually have this provision. This would be stated in their internship offers and can be clarified beforehand.
Are there internships where you pay?
Usually, companies offer paid or unpaid internships. Some organisations may ask for a registration fee, which should not be a large amount.
Typically a small firm or consultancy may take a registration fee in return for allowing you to work and give you a certificate of internship. This works well for college students who are looking to complete internships for course credits.
Again, this is not the practice in larger firms and something that potential interns should check out properly, as it can turn out to be a scam at times.
Are there any countries where internships are paid?
Many countries have paid internships, including India. The United Nations internships program offers student internships too, but these are not paid.
Many countries abroad offer paid internship opportunities to international students – England, USA, China, Australia, some South-East Asian countries, and some EU countries, too, notably Spain and Italy.
Are internships full-time or can internships be part-time?
Internships can be full-time, part-time, and even virtual internships, which are gaining favour since the pandemic.
When do internships start? When are internships posted?
Start applying towards the end of the year – September to November for summer internships in the next year. For bigger firms, the internship recruitment process can take up to a year.
Unpaid internships are easier to get, but you need to apply at least 3 months prior. Sometimes companies, especially smaller ones, may offer a bright unpaid intern a paid internship for the next year.
Many organisations come with internship offers during placement drives in colleges. RBI internships notifications are also issued before the end of the year.
How can I decide which internships I should apply for?
The kind of internships applied for can vary according to your course or field of study. Typically internships should help give you an oversight of the work role you are looking to fit in.
It can also be an exploratory exercise to help decide between two alternative options that you can opt for, according to your area of specialization. Sometimes it can look good on your resume as you seek to show a varied life experience.
You should consider the work culture, the organization’s mission and future growth opportunities when applying for internships.
Can you recommend some internships for college students?
Most college students should take internship guidance from their seniors, alumni or faculty. Due to changing trends in the workplace, they can guide you in the best options.
Typically most freshers are recommended to work with voluntary organisations or NGO’s and then veer towards specialized internships as they explore, get clarity, and narrow down their future options.
Are there internships where you get to travel?
One can opt for a travel internship, although this has been seriously impacted by the pandemic. Another way to travel as an intern is to take international internships abroad.
Some may require you to pay your way through, but if you are lucky and the company feels you can offer professional value, you could get paid internships abroad, which in some cases, can cover your expenses.
Other ways to travel as an intern can be interning in the field of journalism or reporting or interning with a production company and assisting a production in process.
When looking for internships, remember that travel for interns, especially paid travel, has been seriously impacted by the pandemic.
Which companies offer internships?
Most companies offer internships – from big global giants to smaller players across all sectors – finance, consultancies, banks, tech companies, advertising, films, media, NGO’s and startups. In fact, it is difficult to find a sector not open to internships.
Where to find internships? Where are internships advertised?
Some government internships are advertised, a number of Government sector companies issue notifications, while some do so through campus placement and recruitment drives in colleges and universities.
Most job portals have a segment on internships, while there are some internship sites that cater only to internship opportunities. Apply for Glow & Lovely Careers online internships here.
When companies want interns, their first call is colleges especially the college career centre. It helps to be well prepared with a list of companies to apply to, preparing a resume or cover letter and looking out for professional contacts from within your social network.
You must actively hunt for internships and ideally, this process should begin well before the summer break. Sometimes companies may decide to recruit someone who had shown outstanding ability, but this is rare.
It’s desirable to start applying a year to six months earlier. These days many schools require students to get internship experience in their summer break. This helps at the college level as bigger firms are looking for interns with previous internship experience.
How can I find internship opportunities or internship jobs near me?
Check with your University or College office or societies about placements and internships. You can take an active role along with fellow students and faculty to invite known local firms to your college for recruitment in case you don’t have a setup already.
College events and the college network throw up quite a few internship opportunities, so go out and look for them. Reach out to your seniors for help in identifying companies which have given out internships previously.
It helps to reach out through one’s network, especially professional contacts. Chances are people you have been in professional contact with will appreciate and realize your worth and value and be willing to offer opportunities.
Approach your college alumni and seek their help too. Also, be vigilant about seminars, workshops and college events where organizations are participating and connect with them. Be enterprising and take the initiative.
You can also connect over LinkedIn with professionals and be upfront about any available openings. That apart, there are professional job portals through which a person can apply.
You can join internship groups on social media or go through online sites like Internshala. Check internship companies and internship websites like Internships, Lets Intern, stuMagz, Twenty19 and LinkedIn for opportunities. Apply for Glow & Lovely Careers online internships here.
You can be proactive and even write to local companies, startups and even well-known firms seeking to find internships with them. Taking initiative might just create that positive response in your internship search.
In the Glow & Lovely Career Community on SHEROES, you can take a free career test to learn about careers that match your interests, try an online course to learn a new skill or improve your English, practice for a Government Job exam using online tests or create your own resume with the easy resume builder.
Join Career Hour every Monday & Friday from 2 pm to 5 pm. This is a 3-hour live chat session where you can directly interact with me and ask your career guidance questions without any hesitation.
About the author:
Monica Majithia is a Life and Career coach, POSH trainer and Counsellor at SHEROES. She is also an external member on the IC committee of various organizations on behalf of SHEROES. She was a UGC research fellow and has worked in the field of Gender studies. As a returning professional, she has done extensive work in careers and skills-building guidance.