Internship Search Experience

Embarking on internships are considered the norm now or they say you’ll lose out in the competitive rat race in today’s society. But how easy is it to actually find and secure one?

By Jolene Ong

Embarking on internships can be daunting, but it’s even more so if you’ve never interned before. I’ve always felt that internships seem to reflect an irony. Internships are meant for students to learn more and better their current skillsets. But they seem to favour applicants who already have mastered those skills. But before I share more of my two cents on that, let me ask you, what do you think is the purpose of an internship?

I asked you for ‘the purpose’ – just one purpose. But I believe you may have a few – which should be the case – and these purposes which you are harbouring right now may differ for every reader.

You see, everyone takes on internships for different reasons. And these different reasons will change the perspective on how we view our internships.

Why Internships?

If we intern for the sake of interning, then any internships we come across are like our desperately coveted life buoy in the middle of a choppy sea. We see one, we race to it – all without fully understanding what our journey might entail. If our reason is to just bolster our resume, then internships are like valuable designer-label possessions. We might become overly picky, focus only on established companies and unknowingly pass by potential fulfilling opportunities offered by smaller firms. But if we focus genuinely on gaining new insights and perspectives to things, then internships are like airplanes. Our attitude towards them will take us higher, to anywhere and everywhere. 

The Internship Irony

Now, let’s go back to my two cents. As someone without much prior experiences with internships, my purpose for taking up an internship is to chase real-world experiences. More importantly, I wish to learn everything and anything I possibly can during my internship stint. 

However, herein lies the problem. How would I secure an internship offer if I don’t have relevant working experiences in the first place? It’s exactly because of that which encourages me to apply for internships. And yes, I did enroll in online certified courses. I took the initiative to find platforms to execute skills I’ve learnt and tried my best to deliver results. Unfortunately, it’s just too realistic in this “dog eat dog” world. Real life working experience supersedes knowledge and theory. Not to mention those with connections. So, for some of those first-time internship lookers like me, we’re filtered off immediately by the applicant tracking system (ATS). If not the ATS then by recruiters themselves. Basically, we don’t stand a chance.

The First Big Hurdle - Where to find internships?

Before we can even dive into starting our internships, the search process takes precedence. And let’s face it – it can be tough and tedious. For someone like me who is looking for my first internship, I was lost and confused about how to go about doing so. For starters, it involved looking through LinkedIn job postings. Google search was next, before I navigated through the tons of mass posted open positions on internship portals.

I’ve applied for many internships, gotten interviewed for some and well, got accepted by one or two. But that one or two acceptance didn’t mean much when I realised that I wasn’t a cultural fit in their organisation in any way after the interview. Basically, our goals weren’t aligned. The process was time consuming,  having to sieve through hundreds of job descriptions and preparing for the interviews which may not guarantee a fruitful outcome.

The Second Hurdle - Irrelevant Internship Postings

Oh wait, I almost forgot. The school internship portals and email blasts! How could I forget? They were so helpful…not. At least for me. Email blasts from the school’s career centre are common to help highlight various valuable internship openings at established companies. I do appreciate their dedication to helping students chart successful internship and career paths, but there are two problems.

First, most of the post were irrelevant to my majors and interests. Second, those career opportunities were in big established firms requiring at least some experience in their fields.

Up to here, some of you may think I’m picky about internship positions. Perhaps, it may also seem I’m complaining too much (I feel it too) about not being as competent as other applicants, and that it’s on me. But I guess what most people don’t see is how beginners like us did apply for them and struggle to survive through the intense competition. Most of the lucky few who got those positions did not only have ‘some’ experience. They were over achievers – their resume and portfolios having as much substance as my angpaos this coming Chinese New Year (at least let me flex a bit here). So then what can we take away from this? Well, we just have to keep trying because after all, all it takes is for one employer to say Yes.

An expert in anything was once a beginner.

Where am I now?

So, as I continued to embark on this tumultuous expedition of sourcing for an internship, I came across this experiential internship stint here at MatcHub via Telegram. I didn’t hesitate signing up because I felt that this stint will allow me to experience working in different departments. I felt it’ll really help me better understand my career preferences and what each unique role entails.

Currently, I’m experiencing the job roles under the marketing department – designing and creating social media collaterals and copywriting. That’s right, this is a piece I’m working on as part of this stint. Also, do head to our Instagram (@matchub.co) and Facebook page to check out some of the latest posts I’ve created as part of our #toolswithmatchub series. Oh, and before I forget, if you wish to find suitable internships efficiently, do consider registering for MatcHub! At MatcHub, we have it all covered. Your personality profile, soft skills and hard skills will be considered when matching you to job and internship positions. 

In essence, we’re your time bank. We invest our time to making your internship application process more streamlined and efficient, so that you can save yours. We’ll introduce to you and pique (peak) your interest levels (get it?) in job positions that are of a better fit for you. And before you know it, internship and job searches have become such a breeze!

 

If you found this piece interesting, do also check out our article on ‘3 reasons why you need to experience interning at a startup at least once in your uni life’ here to get an insight on potential personal growth opportunities in the startup industry!

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