Bagging Internships: The Off-Campus Way

Bagging Internships: The Off-Campus Way

The vacations are coming! It is the time when a lot of students wonder about how to make their time productive? The natural answer to that question is doing an internship. But what exactly is an internship? There are a lot of opportunities for Research internships, but how to bag an Off-Campus Industrial Internship? We look at the answers to all these questions in this article.

An internship is a short-term opportunity offered by organizations to students and graduates to gain work experience. As an intern, for a limited period (ranging from a week to 6 months), you'll go to the office, work on real-time projects, pick up industry-relevant skills, and get paid for your services. In short, an internship bridges the gap between your coursework and what industries look for in recruits.

There are many ways of bagging an internship, the famous ones being On-Campus Internship Opportunities, Research Internship opportunities at reputed institutes, and Off-Campus Industrial Internships. While the other two have accessible platforms, the latter is often complicated to crack. The ways of bagging an Off-Campus Industrial Internship include Internshala, LinkedIn, Hackathons, Referrals, and applying through the company website. We take a look at all of these in detail:

Internshala

Internshala is Pandora's Box of magic! With internships available throughout the year across all profiles for everyone from school students to graduates, Internshala offers you a plethora of options to choose from and launch your career. The internships offered through Internshala is of three classes:

1. Full-time (in-office) internships – Full-time internships are offered during summer or winter vacations and typically last for 4-12 weeks. An intern goes to the office and works for 8-9 hours every day.
2. Part-time internships – Ideal for college-going students, part-time internships require you to work for 10-20 hours a week. They have flexibility in terms of working from home and going to the office only on a few days of the week.

3. Virtual/Online internships (Work From Home) – When you cannot skip classes because 85% attendance is mandatory, virtual internships present themselves as a bang-on solution! Online internships require you to work for 2-3 hours daily from home and offer you a learning opportunity, work experience, and a stipend, of course.

Having seen what type of internships Internshala has, it's time to find out what is the procedure for applying to any internship through Internshala,

Step 1: Register at the official website of Internshala, link:

Step 2: After Email verification, fill in your details to make your resume.

Step 3: Decide on what kind of Internship/ training you want, and set your preferences accordingly.

Step 4: Start applying to internships that interest you!

Step 5: Answer a simple 'Why should you be hired for this internship?' question, and wait for the first shortlist.

But everyone follows these steps. But what sets a few who get these internships apart from the rest? Here are some tips, following which you can increase your chances of standing out,

  1.  Do not give generic answers- In quest of an internship, students are often tempted to copy-paste generic responses to the "Why should you be hired for this internship?" question. Avoiding this may lead to more work, but it is imperative because often, hundreds of applicants apply for very few openings. If your application is generic and not specifically oriented, then you are more likely to face rejection.
  2. Zero Grammatical Errors- Grammatical errors can either lead to the company thinking that you were not serious for this Internship or worst case; they will judge you. Put some time into your writing, reread it, and preferably use Grammarly or some other software which corrects grammatical errors.
  3. Highlight Your Work Experience- Out of the hundreds of applicants, only a few are relevant for the Internship. The company decides who suits the best for the role in seeing your experience—highlighting your experience if any is very important to ensure that you stand out.
  4. Get yourself trained- It might often be the case, especially for freshers that you do not have any experience. It is advisable to get yourself trained first before applying for these internships. Internshala provides a wide range of training courses for almost every discipline you can think of. Once you have specific training and you know your niche, start applying for internships and hope for the best.

To know more about Internships through Internshala, we contacted Ganesh Bansod, a final year from the department of Industrial Design who did an Internship at Maximl Labs, Chennai through Internshala. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

MM: When did you do this Internship?

Ganesh Bansod: I was there in Chennai for ten weeks during my Internship for the role of a product designer, the Internship started on 5 May 2019.

MM: How did you bag this Internship, and how was your experience using Internshala?

Ganesh Bansod: Procedure for applying to the Internship was very dramatic. I started with putting my application at various companies through Internshala as well through cold emailing. I started it from around the second week of March. After applying for many companies and waiting for over a month, I got a callback from Maximl labs, and suddenly after that, other companies also started reaching out to me. Talking about the process of getting into MAXIML, my initial submission was through Internshala with my resume and portfolio there were around 60 applicants for the role including me. Out of this, 25 people were shortlisted for the next round, which was a small UX task. I had three days to complete it and submit the final case study. In this round, 20 students were rejected, and finally, five students were shortlisted for the final round. The final round consisted of 3 different interview rounds one with lead designer, the CEO and HR. These interviews were mostly around the task submission and my technical skills. After going through all this process, it took around two weeks to get a final offer letter. That's all about my story of getting this Internship. I am telling you these numbers because I was able to ask them regarding the process during my internship period so you can trust them.

MM: Can you give some tips for freshers who would be using Internshala in the future?

Ganesh Bansod: Firstly, Always be prepared with the portfolio and resume. Secondly, start early in the process of applying for an internship. March start would be an excellent time, to begin with as many companies expect you to join within a month or two. Also, be patient with the applications you put there. It's around 10% chances of getting a reply, so if you apply for ten companies, you might get a response from one of them. Apply for as many companies as possible and wait.
All these tips are drawn from my experience. I don't know if they will work for others or not. But always learning and developing contacts will help anyone.

Hackathon

Hackathons today have become a hub of the brightest, most passionate engineering students. By participating in a hackathon, you kill three birds with one stone: you get to work on an awesome project (you can put on your resume), you can meet other people (expand your network), and you can indirectly find job opportunities. The hackathon community is all about learning and welcoming beginners with open arms, and you get to meet some of the brightest engineers and tech recruiters out there. 

Tech -Recruiters all over the country take hackathons as a medium to reach the new generation of tech-enthusiast. Various hackathons have different rounds and judging criterion, but the following steps are generally common in all of them.

Step 1: Collect information about the hackathon, when, where, how and rules for it.

Step 2: Make a team and start building ideas on the project.

Step 3: Submit the project.

Step 4: Make a prototype of the project, if selected, and submit it and get ready for a presentation.

Step 5: If you had cleared all the above rounds and got shortlisted, you will receive an interview call.

Various hackathons have a different number of rounds and criterion, so one has to read the rules and regulations properly for each and participate accordingly. Information about the hackathons happening is generally available in websites like HackerEarth and Devfolio.

Some tips from the top coders of our college will help you to approach it better:

1.Building projects: Actively work for the projects of the club or get involved in some projects of your branch, it pacifies your learning process, and you also find seniors to guide you.

2. Explore and expand thinking space: It is tough to become master in any one field without company exposure and so instead of focus on one single platform try to learn and integrate different technical and different frameworks into one single project, to get a wholesome idea and expand thinking space.

3.Building skillsets: Learning DSA is a must and requires regular practice.

Abhishek, A 3rd-year electrical student, who got selected for an internship at Myntra through a hackathon conducted by it said: 

Participate in different kinds of development-related hackathons where you will get some company exposure. Competition in a development-related hackathon is pretty much less compared to competitive programming contest and so with decent knowledge, you can crack hackathons easily.

Debabrata Panigrahi, a Rakuten tech intern, said:

It was a completely new and an amazing two days experience at Rakuten headquarters, Bangalore and since it was my 1st visit to a corporate office I was enjoying the ambience.

Employee Referrals

It is considered as one of the most productive recruiting strategies when employers used to ask existing employees to recommend candidates for open positions. It's an internal method used to find and hire the best talent from employees' existing networks.

The general steps that one follows for applying are:

Step 1: Get a letter of recommendation from the HOD of the department.

Step 2: Mail the HR of the place you want to apply with attached LOR.

Step 3: Get the referral from the person who is eligible to refer you there.

Step 4: Once confirmed, you will receive a confirmation mail from them.

With following the given tips, one can approach the matter easily:

  1. Building connections: Building contacts and connections in the industry will help you to get references quickly.
  2. Building Foundational concepts: Get thorough with the concepts before going for the internships to get a better understanding of it.

Kaustav Ray, who interned at MCL(Mahanadi Coalfields Limited) shares:

Work experience was great! I was given a schedule from the safety office, MCL which assigned us specific no. of days to each department. The engineers were very helpful and guided me throughout my work.

P. Pritesh Patro, an intern at Paradeep Phosphates Limited shares:

Working at PPL was a phenomenal experience for me. I was introduced to the work culture of industries. I was happy to see various machinery like reactors, boilers, heat exchangers, turbo generators, cooling towers, dryers, pulverisers, etc which I studied in theory before.

Rojalin Rout, a final year from the Department of Electronics and Communication shares her experience regarding bagging an internship at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions in Bangalore,

I was very much interested in joining this company after going through its profile since I had always wanted to work somewhere which combined electronics and software. Hence, I found this to be the most appropriate option. I had forwarded my resume through one of our Alumni, as they found my profile appropriate for their job, so they took two telephonic interviews after which I was selected for the Internship.

LinkedIn

Established in 1961, NIT Rourkela is blessed to have a broad alumni base not only in India but across the globe. One is bound to find NITR alumni or NITRAAns in almost every reputed company and organization. But searching for and connecting with them isn't easy. Fortunately, we have got LinkedIn, a professional networking site (and app) that makes connecting with industry leaders and researchers easier. One can create an account on LinkedIn and get access to expert information of over 20 million users on it. These include researchers, professors, industry leaders, alumni and students, among others. Most students at NITR either just know about LinkedIn or have an inactive account on it. Let's have a glance at how to make the best out of your LinkedIn account.

  1. Register yourself on LinkedIn and get an account on it (if you haven't done so already). It opens the doors for the vast network of professionals active on LinkedIn.
  2. Have a strong headline and get noticed: Your profile is not the place to be shy! Write a concise but descriptive headline like "XYZ University honours student & aspiring PR associate," "Entry-level creative professional", etc.
  3. Include keywords:  Recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates. Use the keywords and phrases they use. Find examples from job descriptions you come across while browsing for relevant opportunities, or profiles of people who have the jobs you want, and carefully use them throughout the Summary and Skills & Expertise sections on the site. List every experience and PoR (Position of Responsibility) held by you, like SAC posts, HMC posts, ICS posts and Club posts (the list is inexhaustive). This is to convey your sincerity and sense of responsibility to potential recruiters who might stumble upon your profiles while on LinkedIn.
  4. Take advantage of the student profile sections:  Be sure to complete the profile sections designed just for students, such as Courses, Projects, Languages, Certifications, and Organizations. Keywords are quite crucial here, as well. Complete profiles get about 40 times more opportunities than incomplete ones; a study has shown!
  5. Build your network: Expand your network by sending personalized LinkedIn connection requests to everyone you know — friends, family, neighbours, teachers, professors, colleagues, classmates, and more. But also keep in mind that LinkedIn has a connection request sending limit which means you cannot send requests after exhausting your limit. This isn't too low, but you might end up at a notification which says that you can't send more requests if you end up sending too many of them in a single day. So, avoid recklessly sending requests to everyone and anyone you come across.
  6. Ask your network for help: A study says that 70% of jobs are found through networking. Once you connect, send customized messages (no spamming!) to say you're intern-hunting in a specific field. Ask for advice, an informational interview, or if they know anyone in your desired field. Connect one-on-one and others will be willing to make an effort to ask if there are any openings for you.
  7. Search the Student Jobs Portal:  The Student Jobs Portal is a specific portal inside the site that targets students and about-to-graduate students. It has all the entry-level job and internship postings on LinkedIn at a single place to make the internship-hunt easier. Search by job role or review postings from featured companies and apply for positions. Usually, in such cases, the employer will be able to see your full LinkedIn profile and would further contact you in case he finds your profile interesting.
  8. Last but not least, target alumni: You are more likely to get an internship in a company where NITR alumni presently work. And you'd be surprised to know that NITR alumni are spread far and wide from Google to Tesla and from CERN to NASA. Don't hesitate to reach out to them and ask for opportunities in their organizations.

Rajnandini Panda, a 3rd-year Civil undergrad, had bagged an internship at Unacademy via LinkedIn. Team MM had a brief conversation to know more about the Internship.

Monday Morning: Can you give a brief outline of how you bagged the Internship? 

Rajnandini Panda: It was my 2nd-year summer, and I was looking for options out of my core subjects. I started searching and applying at a lot of companies on LinkedIn, Internshala, etc. from the month of March. I was inexperienced to be considered for many internships, so I faced a lot of difficulties initially. During mid-May, I came across the Business Development Internship of Unacademy. I applied with very little hope, as a lot of companies had already rejected me by then. 

MMHow were the internship experience and environment?

RP:  I would say my internship experience was challenging. It was, of course, my first time working in a hyperactive startup. My category lead was very inspiring and helped me push my limits a lot. I got to interact with great educators, learned a lot about the strategic partnerships and business verticals. I had a lot of co-interns, we all helped each other get maximum output, overall it was a learning experience, and the environment was motivating to be precise.  

MMWhat all did you learn during the Internship?

RP: A a lot of my work revolved around convincing top educators to get into a mutually beneficial partnership with Unacademy, that definitely boosted my confidence, helped me with my persuasive skills, which I feel is a very important skill to learn especially in the corporate world. Working with experienced people gave me an idea about how they would approach a problem, which is very different than what a freshman would think. Lastly, the most important thing I learned morally was, If you want to achieve something, you have to be proactive and self-driven. Your results will ultimately speak about your efforts, even if you put in more input. The efficiency of work is more important than just hard work. 

MM: Can you offer any tips for our readers to bag internships via LinkedIn?

RP: Make your CV as strong as possible, and by that, I do not mean just adding more stuff in it. It's more about the perfect representation of whatever you have in it already. A CV is going to be you on-paper, so sell it as much as possible. Constantly look for opportunities, never miss out on any opportunity. Keep surfing the internet, search for options that might align with your interest. Every now and then companies post about there openings, so stay updated on LinkedIn, put up job alerts in your field, and whenever notifications come just start applying.

Official Company Sites

Official Internships are those internships that can be bagged by applying via official websites of companies or organizations before their respective deadlines. All sizeable companies and organizations and even startups have dedicated sites which have a careers section in them. The bigger ones even have a careers portal which allows one to browse for and apply for internship positions officially. They usually have a simple procedure to fill a form with all general personal information in the first step. The only pre-requisite is having a CV in most cases. Additional links or documents such as Github profile link for coding and portfolio links for design may be required if one wants to apply for coding or design internships.

In case, your profile seems impressive, and you get past the CV review round, you'd usually receive an email within a week or two of the application (sometimes it may take more time). You'd usually be given a task to complete and send it to them before a given deadline. This second step in your application may vary, with some recruiters deciding to go for a Skype or in-office interview straightaway where your knowledge and aptitude are tested. A good way to boost your chances to get through the CV review stage would be searching for the HR or recruitment executives of the division of the company you've applied to and evince your interest to intern at their company or organization. If you're able to successfully convince him, you will ease through the first stage where most applicants are rejected.

Crafting a CV is a very important aspect in which one must give sufficient time. Tips to make a good CV are available online and the emphasis must be on standing out among other candidates. Other pre-requisites like a Github profile for coders and a noteworthy Behance or Dribbble account would add value to your profile as usually the links to these are not mandatory but would act as brownie points for those who fill in this column during the first stage of their application on portals.

Reuben Abraham, a 3rd-year undergrad from the Department of Industrial Design, had bagged not one but two design internships by applying through official websites at Yellow Slice Design Studio and Tata Consultancy Services. Team MM had a conversation with him to know more about the application process and his Internship.

Monday MorningCan you give a brief outline of how you bagged the Internship?

Reuben Abraham: I just applied through the company portal, and they reverted back since they liked the portfolio

MMHow were the internship experience and environment?

RA: The environment was pretty new since most of the people were young and mostly the age group of 25-30. All of them were really supportive and open to discussion regarding my work as well as their own. 

MMWhat all did you learn during the Internship?

RA: I got an in-depth knowledge of the Core UX process. I attended client meetings and got to know what all needs to be kept in mind through the business perspective.

MMCan you offer any tips for our readers to bag internships via official company/organization websites?

RA: First of all, you must have a strong portfolio. After getting it ready, I'd suggest getting it reviewed by someone working in the industry. You may approach people through Twitter or LinkedIn, asking them for feedback. Once that is done, I'd say the trick is to keep applying as much as you can. There might be many reasons why you didn't get a response. Maybe the company just doesn't hire interns, maybe they don't have enough workload to share with an intern, or maybe they just didn't have enough time to review your application. Either way, not getting a call doesn't necessarily mean your portfolio doesn't measure up. So keep applying as much and as frequently as you can.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for an industrial internship and the On-Campus opportunities are not working out for you, do not lose hope. Keep applying through the most convenient Off-Campus platform and follow the tips given above. Having contacts who can refer you, or doing well at hackathons will provide you with a straightforward chance of bagging one but if that doesn't work out, create your profile and start applying strategically at platforms like LinkedIn, Internshala and Official Company websites.

Team MM wishes you all the best for bagging and excelling at your dream Internship.

DISCLAIMER: The content, opinions or views expressed on the Monday Morning's website and its social media platforms, including, but not limited to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, are strictly the property of Monday Morning and represent the extensive research and work of the working team of respective academic year of Monday Morning and not those of the institute. The reports and statements published are consolidated from the collected background research and interviews. The institute's official statements can be found in the press releases published by the institute or via an RTI application.

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