Monday, 6 October 2014

10 Tips for Future Interns

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim :) 

So alhamdulillah, I have just completed my internship last August. I think the working life was really tough, and I am glad that MMU made it compulsory for us to carry out our industrial training. At least we got the sneak peek of it ! *and appreciates uni life more ;)*

A few juniors have been asking me questions regarding the internship, and seriously, we were as clueless before so I didn't mind answering them. But to make it easy and to benefit more people, I listed here the 10 things you need to know before you start your internship. More like, 10 things I wished people have told me about internship before I started. Haha !

1) Make sure your resume is perfect !
I really mean it, PERFECT ! This is the only document that you are going to use to 'sell' yourself. Some companies may arrange interview sessions or have their own online application, but most of them don't. So your email / application letter and resume must be really impressive. You don't really need to include every single thing that you have done in your campus, just put your best achievements, that will do. "Simple and Sweet" really applies here. My counselor in school once said that a good resume is only one page long. Take time to produce a perfect resume, as you will be using it again after you have graduated. There are a lot of samples on the internet, and you may also refer to your seniors / lecturers  / counselors. Although creative resume is getting popular these days, I believe that it really depends on the company that you are applying to. Recheck your resume 1000 times. Ask your friends and lecturers to check and review. It is also advisable to include your contact details both in your email and resume.

2) Research on the company that you are applying to
For audit interns, I advise you to first decide whether you are going to apply to big / medium / small firm. If you are aiming to impress future employers, interning in Big 4 might help. But trust me, when they say you will learn more in medium / small firms, it is true. As they have less employees, I have seen my friends doing audit work for 4-5 clients at one time. Whereas in Big 4, you will be engaged to one client at a time (for audit interns) as most of their clients are giants of their industries. It will help if you first decide which one you prefer. Next, read up about the company. Customise each email, do not send the same email to all the companies you are applying to. By reading up about the company, you may include in your email the reasons you want to have your internship there, they will be impressed ! You may also ask your seniors that have done their internship in your targeted companies regarding their experience.

3) Know when to apply
Most people say that you need to submit your application latest by 3 moths before you start. This also depends on the company that you are applying to. Take PwC for example (as I did my intern there), I sent my application months before but received no reply at first as they were busy selecting interns for the batch before me (they have monthly intakes). But ! Late application may also cause you difficulties, as you need to also fight with the students from other universities to secure a place. Hence, as I mentioned, you need to know when to apply. 

4) Prepare for interviews
Once you have submitted your application, always be aware of phone calls. Some of them might even engage you in a phone interview ON THE SPOT. It is nerve-wrecking (it was for me !), hence you need to always be prepared and expect this. Some of the companies arrange interview session for future interns. It helps if you can find any senior that had their internship there so that you are mentally prepared for the interview especially on how it will be conducted. 

5) Update your logbook EVERYDAY
So once you have started your internship, I personally advise you to have a small notebook that you can carry all the time. If you are sooo busy to update your logbook (that will be given to you by your intern coordinator, where you need to type and submit to your manager every week), this notebook will serve that purpose. You can write all the tasks for that day whenever you have the time. If you jot down your update everyday, the logbook will be the easiest part of the final report. 

6) Take the chance to learn as much as possible
Be brave to speak out. Tell your seniors to give you more work because you want to learn more. Even if you are not assigned to that particular senior, just take up the job, given you have the capacity. The only way to learn is by doing. Expect printing, copying, scanning jobs. While doing all those, you can actually try to read up the document and learn from that too ! And if you are a major introvert (like me !), this is the only way for you to get to know people and for people to get to know you, as you may find it difficult to just get in the crowd for no reason.

7) Do not be intimidated by others
You and your friends will have different experiences during this internship period. Some of them might learn more than you, might be engaged with more clients, might know more seniors. In my case, I was assigned to the GST department. I have always wanted to do audit so at first I was a bit demoralised listening to my friends' experience. But hey. It is okay to have different experience compared to your friends, so do not ever feel intimidated. What you get, is what best for you. If you have tried your best, there is no reason to feel so ! 

8) Create network
Take the chance to know more people. Talk to the seniors, other interns. Do not just live in your own world in the office. It will help you a lot in completing your tasks. And who knows, one fine day you might meet them again in this corporate path !

9) Scholars ! Remember that you have extra money !
This is just a friendly reminder. If you are a scholar, you might want to check with your scholarship provider whether they have extra allowance for interns or not. And if they do have, what are the procedures to claim it. This might help pay your transportation and super expensive food at your workplace.

10) Do your report wholeheartedly
I do not think I can comment much on this as the final marks for my internship has not yet been announced (pray for me !). As this takes up the largest percentage of your internship marks, you might want to really invest your time (and money) to complete this report. Trust me, if you have written all the things you did in those 6 months, this will not be a problem. I strongly advise for you to check the guidelines for the report (usually similar to previous years) BEFORE you finish your intern. Sometimes, the information required in the report are only accessible by the employees of the firm. Therefore it will be helpful to look through the guidelines and collect the information while you still have the access to it.

To wrap this up. Some of the memories during my internship in PwC :) 

The geniuses and I during our last day of internship.

Mini games conducted by the HR dept, and they gave us lots of snacks ! 
Intern reception
- where they gathered all the interns and there were more than 100 of us ! 

That is all that I can think of now, hope this little effort can help in starting your journey ! All the best ! ;D 

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