Posted on: 2021-07-21
One of the main criteria employers will look out for when you apply for a job, be it a full time or part time position, is your past internship or work experience. If you are a student still pursuing your degree, I would highly recommend that you take up internships not only during your summer and winter breaks, but also a part-time internship while you are at school!
In this new era, scoring a job isn't solely dependant on your grades or GPA anymore. Employers take previous internships and co-curricular activities into account. Perhaps upon graduating University, most of your schoolmates have taken up several internships. With internship experiences written in your resume, cover letter and portfolio, you stand a greater chance of getting jobs and scholarships!
Although being an intern means you get a relatively low salary (yes, lower than working in McDonald's) but it would be worth it in the future! You get first-hand insights and knowledge in the industry you are interested to work in, learn on the job and test if that is what you really like to do. It also gives you a clearer insight of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as likes and dislikes being in that industry or working as a certain role.
Working in a company and being in a team will allow you to learn more about others and most importantly, learn more about yourself. You will start to know how you perform in a team and what value you can bring to your team. You will find out your weak points, which you can then learn to make changes from there!
Back when I was a student, before my internship commenced, I took personality tests such as the DISC test and the Myers-Briggs test. From there, I found out what kind of role I could play in a company, and what are my strengths and weaknesses. I also found out how my type of person can thrive in the workplace - how I handle difficult problem, how I should talk to by superiors and how should I portray myself in different situations. I also learnt how to recognise others' personalities and how to tackle them. I applied these learnings into my workplace and wow - they worked! Things such as persuading people of different personalities actually worked to my advantage. From here, I also took feedback from my colleagues, supervisors and clients to see what I could do better and improve on. This helped me shape who I am today and I am still learning and growing!
You get to learn both hard and soft skills, and this adds up beautifully on your resume, which in turn increases your rate of employment. It really opens your mind! Hard skills are like coding, Microsoft Office and SEO Marketing.
So, what are some of the soft skills we can learn which isn't taught in school or from books? Some of them are managing your superiors' expectations, communicating within your organisations - be it internal or external, as well as how to network!
Personally, I was privileged to land my first internship stint was in Shanghai for 6 months. On top of learning to live without the shelter of my parents, I had my first exposure in working in a company as a team! As my company was a partner of Google for Startups, I gained precious skills such as event management, how to host clients from all around the world, presenting proposal decks and presented them to different Chambers of Commerces and learnt to network with many entrepreneurs around the world! I also had to learn how my colleagues work and how to best tackle their work styles and personalities so I would do my job well and thrive in my team. I took back many soft skills gained and am using them in my personal life!
If you perform well during your internship, your company may even offer you a conversion! This means you secure your job while being at your internship even before you graduate. This is why many people fight for internships, even if it means they are doing it for free. In some countries, students even have to pay the company for pursuing an internship with them as companies believe that they are equipping students with the skills and knowledge, while the students have nothing to offer - yes they really do teach you and give you insights on the industry!
Liow Hai Ting
Digital Marketing Executive
For more information or enquiries, please contact Liow Hai Ting at firstname.lastname@example.org