Whilst an internship might by viewed as an opportunity to just learn more about the industry one would like to work in one day, it could most certainly also lead to a job opportunity.

Prestige Academy offers students the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience in the workplace, specifically in their field of study. The following types of internships apply at Prestige Academy:

– Work Based Experiential Learning for a Higher Certificate  

– Work Based Learning for an Advanced Certificate or 3 Year Diploma

– Work Integrated Learning for any Degree (excluding the Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management)

Since students get exposure to the real work environment, they find it easier to adapt later on, which in turn places them in higher demand in the job market.

One of the most important interning or work based learning advantages is that these students stand out to potential employers (Read Benefits of an Internship for details on this topic)

Internships (or Work Based Learning) is an important part of becoming ‘workplace-ready’ and building useful skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. It also offers the opportunity to build contacts which could otherwise be difficult to obtain.

For details on the industry exposure our students receive, check out our blog post: Private vs Public Tertiary Education in South Africa

So, why intern?

Imagine landing that dream job after completing your studies. Think of the exciting work that you will be doing! Getting paid those big bucks is more than just hard work. You will have to craft your career in such a manner that you go from the chick in the hen house to the rooster calling the shots. However, everyone starts at the bottom and you can eventually work your way up in a company. You can pave your way by starting with an internship.  

So, what is the purpose behind interning? It is simple, “companies hire interns to fill their employment pipeline for entry level positions. It is an opportunity for the company to hire fresh talent and give them an opportunity to learn on-the-job in a part-time or temporary arrangement. Both parties can assess whether a longer-term relationship makes sense at the end of the day”, according to the online blog site Quora.

It is highly beneficial to intern! We have listed some of the benefits of interning so you can readily apply and tick off the “internship” box on your to-do list for 2018/2019.

    

Make your intentions clear

Give your supervisor a clear understanding of your goals, whether it is to gain experience, acquire skills or test out what it is like to work in a particular industry. If your goal is to have a full-time job at the end of your internship, talk to your supervisor and ask them what their expectations of you are. It can be advantageous to determine what challenges the company faces and finding solutions to those problems. Don’t stop there though, speak to the Human Resources Manager and express your intent on getting hired.

 Solicit feedback from your boss

In order to improve your skills you will need honest feedback from your supervisor. Have an open conversation with him/her and ask what they think of your performance at work. By doing this you can identify what you are good at and where you need improvement. Don’t solely rely on your boss to keep track of your accomplishments. Ask colleagues for constructive criticism too.

 Build relationships

Building meaningful relationships in the workplace is just as important to your career as food is to the human body. Join in on company social events or volunteer to do the ‘small things’ like taking photos for social media or writing articles for the internal newsletter. Even the smallest of deeds could help you to get noticed, not only by your peers but by management. Remember – people know people, so your supervisor might know someone who could make use of your skillset whether it is in the company you are interning at or for another company.

 Aspire to something higher

Do  research on the latest trends in the industry you work in. Look at industry influencers and read their biographies, books they have written or watch their online tutorials. This will give you a better understanding of how they managed to climb the corporate ladder or solve industry related problems that got them hired in the first place.

 Establish your reputation 

It is important to establish a good track record when it comes to delivering excellent work. Don’t let that slip. Take note of who the people are with good reputations and expertise. Learn from them or accompany them to executive meetings. You can always offer to take notes in meetings just so that you can sit in and learn. Introduce yourself to the high level employees at the company. This in turn could just be what gets you in the door. You can use simple conversation starters such as, “Hi, I’m Sarah. I hear you have the best sales record at this company. I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me what your secret is to accomplishing that.”

Put it on paper

You can always ask for a reference from your supervisor whilst you are interning. This is a good starting point for any resume. Ask your supervisor if they would be willing to write you a review of your job and if they would be willing to be listed as a contactable reference on your resume. A strong resume is the first step to a successful job search, even if it is a resume that goes to that same company’s Human Resources Department where the manager already knows you. A resume is a track record of your accomplishments and skill set and is a quick and easy way to pitch your expertise to potential employers.

To become the intern that everyone wants to hire think about following these simple steps:

  1. Ask necessary questions
  2. Highlight your accomplishments
  3. Make valuable connections (Network, network, network!)
  4. Focus on results (not necessarily logging extra hours)
  5. Speak up during meetings
  6. Show that you are plugged into the industry
  7. Seek solutions to problems
  8. Show up on time
  9. Learn from your supervisor and peers
  10. And lastly – Ask for a job! (Yes, be confident enough to ask)