Getting jobs these days are difficult, especially if you want something really fancy that would pay all your bills and still afford a vacation on the Bahamas. Connections make the process significantly easier. But what if you don’t know people who know people that know people that’ll help you? What makes you different from the next person trying to get the same job as you?
Internships are a great way to build experience and decorate your resume with. But I’m sure a lot you already know this. So while you want to intern, you’re not sure of how to go about it. Well, I have compiled a guide on how I got my internships and if it worked for me, it should work for you. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to score an internship in any industry at all with no connections;
1. Know first what you want to do
Internships are for learning and gaining experience in your desired industry. But first and most importantly, you must know first what you want to do. If you wish to get a job in the industry of whatever you’re studying in the university, then you have this figured out. But if you’re one of those people with aspirations far different from the program being taken in the university, then you should take out a pen and paper and jot down all the cool stuff you aspire to be. Once you write it down, it would be way easier to pick the one that’ll work best for you.
2. Find companies in those industries
Someone told me once that I should take my resume and go company-to-company in search of work. If you’ve been told that too, ignore it, ha-ha. We live in a digital age now, everything can be found and done online. So open your browser, type in your desired industry and right after, ‘companies in (insert your location here)’. For instance ‘Fashion publicity companies in Lagos’ or ‘Chemical engineering companies in Lagos’ or ‘Accounting companies in Lagos’ and hit search.
The result would vary from directories with the company name, their website and contact information to the direct link of the companies. Either one is fine. If you get the directories, visit as many as you can, find the linked websites of the companies listed there and visit. If you get the direct link of the companies on your search page, then visit them one by one.
When you visit a website, examine it. Find info on what they do and see if it aligns with your aspirations. Do you like the feel of the company? Does it look like somewhere you’ll like to work? If yes, then proceed to the next step.
3. Reach out
Sometimes, these websites have a ‘Career’ page where they post available jobs and internships. If you cannot find that, do not fret. Simply go to their contact page and find their email. Usually, their email addresses look like firstname.lastname@example.org so if you find that, great. If you don’t, find an email at all posted there. Some companies may not put up any email addresses, which while unlikely, is possible. Instead of an email address, they have contact forms with spaces provided for your name, email address and inquiry.
Your cover letter goes in the inquiry box. make sure you include your request, university and course of study, a couple of your best skills, how you would contribute value and how it’ll be a great experience for you. In your attempt to convince them to hire you, do not sound too desperate.
If you do get an email on the website, then send a mail. Title your mail ‘Application for Internship’ or ‘Internship Application’ and in the body of the mail, write a cover letter with the short guide stated above. Include your resume or portfolio (if it’s required) and hit send.
You may have to send out a hundred emails before you actually get a response, but do not be discouraged. Think of all the valuable skills you would learn and all the contacts you would grow.
5. Be prepared for the dirty work
Internships are by far, one of the most humbling experiences you would ever have. A number of companies have the mindset that interns are more or less, executive servants that are meant to do all the dirty work. In my first month of internship at a broadcast company, my job was to make tea and wash the cups. So be prepared, and be humble. Do whatever work is given to you without complaining or making too much of a fuss. Most times, you are given the small work to see how you’ll fare with the big ones. So do your best, and your excellence would shine right through.
6. Take it seriously
Simple as that, take it seriously. It’s not a place to come take selfies or hoe around with the men. Treat it as you would treat a normal job. Come early, be respectful, do your work. During my internship, I did my work with the ‘this is my job and I must not screw it up’ mindset and by my third month, I was co-directing one of their national TV shows while some other interns I started work with stayed doing the dirty work all throughout their internship. Do not be those interns. If you work well, you would be called back to work with them as a full staff. That is a sure thing.
7. Understand that you can quit
If you start work and don’t like the place or the people, quit. Simple as that. No one tied you down to the company. If your boss starts to give you some very dehumanizing feedback that gives you anxiety or depression, quit. your mental health is more important. Plus there are other companies out there. Just be sure that before you quit, you have done your very best and obeyed all instructions given. Don’t, in your laziness and lackadaisical attitude, feel offended by constructive criticisms and quit.
Internships are a great way to learn new things that would assist you in the near future. It is also a great way to while away time during long holidays. So instead of sitting at home now with nothing to do, try getting an internship.
Let me know if this article was of help to you in the comments. And tell me about some of your previous internship experience.
Till next time.