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Life Hacks

A guide to landing your first internship

Ah, the Internship. Our first foray into the professional workforce. For some, this means finally having the chance to shop for new work clothes (G2000, anyone?), while for others, it means hoping you don’t end up being your manager’s next kopi runner, and actually learn new skills. But no matter where your priorities lie, one thing remains a universal truth: it signals the onset of adulting as we know it.

We know the process leading up to an internship can sometimes be confusing and even daunting, which is why we shortlisted 3 tried and tested ways to help better your chances of getting that offer.

Network, network, network

“But isn’t it awkward to reach out to a stranger just to talk about work?”

Well, it’s only awkward if you make it awkward.

Coffee chats, as they are often known, are a great way for you to have a slightly more informal and intimate conversation with potential employers. Not only will you get a first-hand recount of what it’s like to work at a particular company, you also get access to their personal experiences climbing the corporate ladder, tips on how to improve yourself, and not forgetting a connection that can be useful if and when you decide to apply for an internship.

While it may seem daunting, take comfort in the fact that most people are usually happy to speak to young, passionate individuals. Just remember to prepare a list of questions to ask beforehand, in order to make it worth their time and yours.

A great way to start looking out for networking opportunities can be through LinkedIn, getting in touch with school alumni and seniors, or simply reaching out to your school’s career counsellors who can direct you to the right people.

Tailor your resume

Recruiters and managers receive dozens of cover letters and resumes daily from young hopefuls looking to score an internship. You want to make sure that your application is relevant to the company you are applying to. Do your due diligence and look into the company values and vision in order to get a better understanding of what kind of culture they have, and whether or not you’d make a good fit for the company.

At the same time, remember that context is important. For instance, you wouldn’t want to be submitting a brightly coloured resume to a serious and traditional corporation, nor do you want to be sending out a plain and boring resume to a slightly more fun and creative company.

Leave no stone unturned

So you’ve reached the interview stage — congratulations! Now what?

The golden rule for interviews is to always prepare more than you should. This is your chance to bring out that inner kiasu Singaporean in you. Invest some time in researching on the typical questions that come up during interviews. A simple Google search can do wonders. Our tip is to collate all the questions and your answers in an Excel sheet so that you can keep track of them.

When you’re in the interview room, remember that an internship interview is a two-way thing. You should always ask your interviewer questions that cannot be found on their website. This can be things such as a better understanding of the company culture or even how a day in the life of an intern looks like. Not only does this help you get a peek into how your potential company is like, but also shows your interviewer your interest in the job.

At the end of the day, internships aren’t just about beefing up that resume. It’s also about dipping your toes into the working world and understanding the complex work dynamics. More importantly, it’s about finding which industry is right for you.

Remember, internships don’t determine your final career paths in the future. So have fun with it while you can!

Internship resources

To help jumpstart your internship hunt, here are some websites you can look into. You can also check out your various schools’ career portals for more opportunities.

This article is brought to you by Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited. All information provided is for informational purposes only.

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