Searching for a job is often challenging, especially if you do not have any relevant experience. One way to gain practical working experience is securing a professional internship in a local or foreign company.
Students, recent graduates and even experienced professionals who are thinking of changing their careers should consider completing an internship. An internship is a great opportunity to add hands-on experience to a resume, to obtain new contacts and to gain useful experience. An internship is generally defined as an intellectual, motivational and complex work project with the potential of personal development and strengthening work-related skills and knowledge.
Employers often accept interns with minimum or no experience in order to integrate them into the company and give them the opportunity to gain practical experience. Interns usually work for little or no allowance. The most common examples of internships are to place younger people on their first steps in a particular profession.
Advantages of an internship for applicants:
- Gain experience in the field
- The possibility of a better position in the labor market
- Linking theory and practice
- Acquiring new knowledge and experience
- Good supervision of an internal mentor
- Establishing professional contacts
- Getting to know the culture and etiquette of the work environment
- Eventual opportunity to get a job in the same (or similar company) where the internship was completed
The application requirements vary according to the specific requirements of the internship. Generally an applicant has to have the legal right to work and can demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for the internship. There are many types of internships for students of technical fields, the humanities and social sciences, pedagogic studies as well as internships in developing countries.
How to select an internship?
Decisions might be based on:
1. Links to a particular study program or specific work focus
2. The specific culture of the company
3. The target group the company is looking for – e.g. age limit internships, language skills.
4. The duration of the internship
5. The source of funding or remuneration
6. The location of the company or country of residence of the applicant
7. Other terms and conditions of the internship offer