An internship is a valuable opportunity to gain on-the-job experience in your chosen field. Studying for your University degree can be challenging but practical experience can go a long way towards expanding your learning and understanding.
Are you looking for an internship but don’t know where to start? We’ve come up with some hot tips for finding and applying for an internship if you are an international student.
At first glance, working while studying could seem like time that is better spent on the books. But delving deeper, you’ll see that an internship provides a range of benefits that will actually help you with your studies and with your career prospects later on.
If you will be seeking an Australian internship, then a bigger city will often be better in terms of opportunities. Also, in some cases, the more highly recognised a city is on the world stage, the better your internship will look on your résumé later on.
So imagine you completed an internship at a multinational accounting firm in Melbourne. Obviously the recognition would be far greater than had you worked at a smaller firm in Hobart, Tasmania which only has a couple of locations across Australia.
Still, you may have a preference for smaller, more intimate workplace environments for the kind of experience you can gain there, such as more one-to-one mentorship. Ultimately, it’s up to you and it’s up to the availability of internships for your qualifications.
Your first port of call when looking for an internship is your University’s guidance or careers counsellor. Employer organisations often partner with Universities to find placements for internships so the counsellor could put you in direct contact with the recruiter. You could also check your University’s intranet or notice boards for advertisements or listings for internships.
There are also private internship placement providers that specialise in matching students with internships. They often post listings on their own websites but you can otherwise make an appointment to meet with a consultant who can take you through the process of recruitment. Internship placement providers can help you understand the employment culture in Australia and the specific workplace and can help you prepare a résumé and yourself for your best chances of success.
Also try job sites such as Seek, Monster, Indeed and CareerOne. Attend career fairs and expos and engage in conversations with recruiters. You can also make a profile for yourself on LinkedIn and approach employer organisations that mention internships.
Finally, you can try to find an internship independently. It involves calling, emailing, writing and visiting employer organisations that you want to work for and trying to get an appointment.
Once you’ve identified an internship you want to apply for, it’s time to prepare your application. Be aware of availability timelines. Some internships come up at the beginning of the financial year, others at the beginning of the calendar year and still others are offered over the summer University break.
Your interview is your opportunity to shine. You get to show off your skills, academic achievements and personability. It’s important to ask questions, talk positively about yourself, take an interest in the organisation and give a clear idea of what you bring to the role.
Evaluate how you think the interview went and determine if there are ways you can improve your performance next time. Two or three days after the interview, send a follow-up, thanking the interviewer for their time and enquiring as to your application’s progress.
An internship is a productive use of your non-study time and a fabulous way to learn the ins and outs of the field you want to work in once you graduate. Good luck finding the internship that you want!