With hiring across sectors being slow, can internships be the solution for fresh graduates seeking jobs? Both industry and academia are of the opinion that this is surely a step in the right direction. Students have already started looking for online internships amid the lockdown to stay relevant.
At Internshala – an internship and online training platform — there has been a rise of 30 per cent in demand for work from home (WFH) or virtual interns among employers in the last few weeks. And, on the other hand, more students and graduates are applying for WFH internships with nearly 36 per cent increase in the number of applications. Most of the work from home offers are in marketing, programming, designing, content writing, it claims.
How to pick the right one?
Tushar Chadha, CEO, People Plus Advisors, an online recruiting platform, says students often seek an internship in certain firms to get the brand name attached to their CVs but believes a better profile is any day preferred over a brand. “Internships should be chosen based on the work being offered. Students should try to attach themselves with an important project while interning. The job profile is more likely to add value to their career than the brand. One should use this time to identify their skills and add tools and techniques learnt during the time to their portfolio,” he remarked.
Nitish Jain, President, SP Jain School of Global Management, thinks money should be the last criteria while choosing an internship. “The key parameters should be the timeframe of the job, the possibility of converting it into a job, the work culture. If respect is given to interns in the company, the opportunity to learn at the role, your mentors, are key points to consider.”
Sarvesh Agarwal, founder and CEO, Internshala shared a three-point rule to pick the right internship: “Firstly, brush up your resume and add details like achievements, previous internships, training which you might have undertaken, besides listing your projects. Then, make a list of organisations and profiles you want to explore. Depending on the skills and competencies that you possess, you can look for online jobs or internships in a variety of profiles. If you have a flair for writing, you can look for content writing. If you have a fair knowledge of MS Excel and Word, you can go for data entry jobs. Once you decide the profile, start applying to the internships with a strong cover letter.”
The third rule, he said is to prepare well for the interviews. “Make sure you are dressed professionally for the video interview and have good internet connectivity. Check if the microphone and camera are working properly before the interview.”
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How to convert an internship into a job
Nitish Jain, whose institute claims to help students translate 70 per cent of internships into jobs, shared his mantra, “I tell my students to follow a simple technique which I call a 110-rule. Candidates need to put 100 per cent of their efforts in the job role described by the company. During internships, the KRA is not very structured in most companies and students should not use this as an excuse to have fun. The rest 10 per cent is about being proactive and sharing inputs with their boss or HR. For instance, they can give suggestions on the website of a company or the project model.”
He added that attitude matters as much as work, while converting an internship into a job. “One should meet other people working in that company; networking is key. It is important to make oneself visible, be helpful to others, besides the reporting manager. The right attitude is critical; no one likes an arrogant person and it’s also difficult to get ahead if you’re shy or hold back.”
What are the rights of an intern?
For those who fail to convert their internship into a job or are looking to explore different profiles first, need to be aware of their rights. Legal rights for interns are a bit tricky because there is no particular law dedicated to this category.
“Legally, interns are treated as contractors and hence the rights and responsibilities will be governed by the internship offer letter and contract. It is very important to ask for a formal offer letter and internship contract from your employer before starting. Ensure all the critical details such as stipend, duration of the internship, working hours, leave policy, work profile, etc, are mentioned correctly. Several organisations extend several benefits, in terms of working hours, holidays, use of on-premise facilities, etc, to their interns that they provide to employees since they hope to convert interns into full-time employees. Hence, one can also read about an organisation’s internship policy or review of past interns before starting work,” advises Sarvesh Agarwal.
An internship is not the only option. As national and international firms have not only slowed hiring but are also pulling back their offers, several institutes are looking for other options. Amit Agrawal, assistant professor and faculty incharge placements, IIIT Naya Raipur told indianexpress.com, “With delayed and slow hiring, we are also looking at other options for our students. While internships remain a safe option, students can also be on a lookout for several competitions. Several organisations hold contests, which hold out a job offer for winners, while others get to add it to their CVs and learn through these initiatives. Students can also focus more on government recruitment exams such as GATE, which open up PSU opportunities.”
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