During my third year in college, I started to search for an internship, however the journey wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped. I realised that the process is gruesome for students, and you face so much rejection for the first time in your life. I had given tens of interviews but failed at the the last or second last stage in all. I eventually secured an internship after both semesters had finished and some of my batchmates has already started their internship. However, the company where I eventually did my internship was a big one, Deloitte. Also, I got to work on the exact kind of projects I had wished to work on and always wanted to learn. Here I would like to share my experiences and the things I learnt regarding how to search for an internship.
Don’t do this:
- Don’t go to a big company’s website like Microsoft or McKinsey and search/apply for internships. There is a very high chance that you won’t ever hear back from the company. This is because they want to collect potential employees data, even though they aren’t actively looking to hire. These websites make you fill out an entire application form where you have to type everything which is already in your resume, such as education history, employment history etc. Time wasted per application can be around 15 minutes.
- Connect with random people on LinkedIn who work at the companies you want to work at, and ask them if they can help you get an interview. When the person is a complete stranger, they don’t have much motivation to help you out. You will waste time doing this.
- Make an interesting data science project which you can showcase to others. Write a LinkedIn post about that, and mention that you are looking for internships. If you don’t have any project to show, write a simple post mentioning about your interests and say that you are looking for internships.
- Use LinkedIn Advanced search tools to find people who graduated from the same college as yours and are currently CEO/founder/CTO as some company. These people are most likely to help you.
- Go to reputed job websites like Indeed, Monster, AngelList Talent and search for matching internships. Apply to them.
- Search for keywords like ‘Founder’, ‘Hiring data science intern’, etc to find people who might be interested in hiring interns. Message them asking for an internship.
- This trick is super effective: if you contact someone and they say something like, “Sorry, I don’t have any opportunities in my team”, request them to share your resume in their company or college alumni group. If a single person does this, you are very likely to hear back from someone who is looking to hire.
- To search for an internship at large companies like Microsoft or McKinsey, go to a job portal (like Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster etc) and search for the company’s name. If there’s an opening, it means the company has recently posted that and is actively looking to hire.
These were some of the things I could suggest, based on my personal experience. Your experience could be different, but for most people, the above steps will help you save time and apply better. I personally wasted a lot of time on the 2 things I mentioned in the ‘Don’t do this’ section.
If you have some other ideas, do suggest them in the comments below.
Now comes the part of negotiating your stipend. This is where most candidates feel shy and simply accept whatever is being offered. I strongly suggest to negotiate. Don’t worry, no company is going to reject you just because you asked for a higher stipend, they handle salary negotiations regularly with full time employees. You should proceed with a mail mentioning an amount around 33% higher than what they said as your expectation. Depending upon their budget it’s quite likely they would agree for what you asked or a bit lower than that. They might ask you the reason why want the specific amount, and one of the simplest answers is, “I have done some calculations, and XX amount will allow me to manage my living expenses on my own, without being dependent on my parents.”
Hope the above suggestions help you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.