You probably know jokes about employers who require N years of work experience, pilot's license, the Nobel Prize in physics, and at least Upper-Intermediate in Swahili. On their part, companies offer an office chair and a cup. Well, some of them are jokes. Still, graduates need something they could offer their future employers alongside their enthusiasm.

That is what internships are for. They give trainees something they could offer a future employer. As a rule, students or graduates get invited for training to learn the business processes of a particular company from scratch. This work gives the trainees a chance to taste the chosen profession. Employers, in turn, get a chance to test and recruit skilled young professionals. This way, students can finally decide whether to work in this area or not.

The beauty of such programs is that searching for them is a valuable experience as it is. The skill of writing letters to employers and preparing for interviews will come in handy in a real-world job search.

Essential signs of a successful internship:

  • The chance to independently manage projects.
  • A mentor who will help adapt socially and provide the necessary professional knowledge.
  • The prospect of climbing the career ladder within the company after the program.
  • At least a minimum financial compensation.
  • Transparent rules, clear conditions, and intelligible tasks.

Let’s look at some practical tips business students could use while choosing an internship.

Look at the Type: Training or Internship

Training is part of the university program. The main goal of the practice is to use the knowledge gained at the university. Many educational institutions offer training options at affiliated companies.

An internship is a student's or a young specialist's initiative. The goal is, again, to use the theoretical professional knowledge gained at the university. The key difference here is that the ultimate goal is to get into the company's staff upon the end of the program.

Choose Between Short-Term and Long-Term Programs

Such training programs are classified by duration as well as type.

Short-term programs take about a month or two. The format assumes working within only one department of the company. This type of apprenticeship allows the student to get acquainted with the structure and values of the company and hone theoretical knowledge in practice. Typically, students and young professionals work halftime or several days a week. Many of them combine training with studies.

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Long-term programs last from six months to a year. Sometimes, they last up to several years. In this case, the company has a full-fledged development program, which stipulates:

  • Management of independent projects along with senior specialists.
  • Mentor involvement.
  • Several intradepartmental rotations within a set direction.

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

When accepting a person for practice or internship, employers test personal qualities and education level, not the actual work experience.

A future intern needs to sort out these things to choose the right first on-the-job learning program. After all, it is not enough to know the field you would like to try. It is critical to understand that your skills and personality suit the job.

Moreover, during the interview, any student will most likely be asked these questions. To avoid confusion, analyze the skills and abilities, for example, using SWOT analysis.

Learn About the Onboarding Program

A proper internship involves working with real-world challenges. Without the involvement and professional help of an experienced mentor, any beginner will find it difficult to join the workflow. A trainee is a valuable employee who can grow into a great professional. If you understand that the company is recruiting newcomers simply so that there is someone to do routine tasks, this is a clear sign to stay away from such an internship.

Ask About the Duties

Trainees can try working on diverse projects – albeit within the same direction. So, the newbie will understand what tasks are their strong suits, and the employer will see the candidate's potential.

Think of Whether You Want to Get Payed

The main task of any training is to give a young specialist a full-fledged work experience. So, free programs can also have their merits. Yet, if the company is willing to pay the trainee with money, this is a signal that it treats them as a would-be employee.

Look Out for Prospects

Much depends on where the student plans on passing the internship. A large company with streamlined processes is more likely to give the experience valued in the marketplace. Small companies offer more options for interpersonal skills development and lower workload. Yet, sometimes, it may be vice-versa. There is only one way of knowing it before trying.

Talk to those who have already completed their internships. Such feedback will help to understand what to expect and beware of. It is a good sign if former interns stay with the company as full-time employees. Sometimes, unpaid apprenticeships may open doors to opportunities, while the paid ones may lead nowhere.

Business students better choose free internships offered by international companies. This option gives more experience with worldwide business processes and the global market.

A Piece of Advice

The first internship is a great chance to pass the first threshold and get hands-on experience. It is essential to build a successful career with a degree in business studies.

Yet, do not rush to apply for the first available vacancy. First, clarify all the points listed above and then proceed with the letter and interview. An internship should bring tangible benefits and never be torture. If something remains unclear, ask the HR manager to clarify these aspects during an interview. Do not be afraid to try!

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