Internship – The Gateway to your Career
Aqsa Shehzadi (Intern at SSDO)
Internships are that part of your career from where opportunities arise. It has become so common for fresh graduates to do internships, mostly because every now and then an organization posts an advertisement regarding internship. However, the problem here is that most fresh graduates tend to apply for any internship, when in reality they should be double checking whether the internship advertised would actually help them learn regarding their field.
Due to the fluctuating job market globally, most fresh graduates resort to option for a job rather than working as an internee. One of the main reasons behind this is because they want to start earning right away – and that’s understandable, considering the impact of this pandemic in the global economy. However, they cannot throw away the importance of internship. By pursuing internship before starting your career, students get to know the basics of their concerned industry as well as they learn how to carry around with the operations. Therefore, it is imperative for one to research about the internship opportunity being offered to them. Some of the key things an applicant should consider can be whether they want to pursue their career in the same industry where the internship is being offered, and whether the organization that’s offering the internship will provide any job offer in the future to that applicant.
Internships aren’t only limited to corporate roles. As a matter of fact, there are some non-governmental organizations that also offer fresh graduates with the opportunity to work as a parliamentary intern. We can take an example of organizations such as Sustainable Social Development Organization. Organizations like SSDO provide hands-on experience to the internees of how it’s like working as an employee of a non-governmental organization. This way, the internees get to understand the know-hows of working in a parliament. Whereas, in return, parliamentarians get an additional hand in getting facilitated.
This shows how vital it is for fresh graduates to do an internship before kicking off their career in their respective fields. There are quite a few benefits of doing internship; such as an intern is able to get a platform, where he/she can set up his/her networking connections. This is one of the most important things one should do while carrying out their internship. One shouldn’t just carry out their duties assigned to them as an intern, in fact, it would be in their best interest to start networking right away within the organization. By doing so, they will be able to create a reputation and raise awareness to the senior employees regarding the intern’s capabilities. As a result, the intern’s chances of getting a job offer within that organization would increase.
One of the benefits of internship is that even if you start your internship in any specific field, you will be able to know more about it – the good and the bad. Now considering the short time frame of internships, that time would be sufficient for the intern to evaluate and decide whether they should start their career in that particular field. In an event the intern seems that they wouldn’t be able to fit in that industry, they can simply start internship in another field where they believe they can excel. In other words, you will be able to learn what job fits your personality. Moreover, an intern would be able to identify the area where they need to work on in order to overcome their weaknesses, while simultaneously enhancing their knowledge and skills.
Speaking of skills, internships also help young learners realize that they don’t only need technical skills. As a matter of fact, one important non-technical skill that an intern would need to improve on would be people skills. From Henry Mintzberg to Abraham Maslow, all have highlighted the importance of the social needs and development of interpersonal skills. These are crucial skills that every intern should be aware of in order to develop their PR and get recognition.
Integrating internship programs as part of graduate studies will allow young interns to implement their conceptual knowledge attained from institutions and implement them in to the real world. Internships are a prodigious way of expanding young minds. According to Gault et al academic internships are a bridge to connect theory and practice by participating in administered and arranged work. Such hands on learning allows internees to discover, experiment and eventually generate innovative ideas which gives them a head start and eventually contribute towards their growth and success.
In developing countries like Pakistan, education systems have always been too focused on conceptual knowledge rather than skill development. This methodology may be one of the reasons due to which a number of students have been seen struggling. However, that is the story of the past. These trends are slowly changing. There are a large number of opportunities available for young students to avail. MNC’s like Unilever, P&G, PepsiCo have offered internship opportunities to graduate students. PepsiCo Pakistan in collaboration with Kamyab Jawan recently conducted Pakistan’s largest virtual Internship program which consisted of 1000 internees from all over the country.  Similarly, non-government organizations like SSDO- Sustainable Social Development Organization’s internship program has offered a similar internship opportunity where intern’s research and work with the MPA’s to bring a change.
Regardless of the field one is interning in, it is essential to have a close connection with the organization’s top management, or MPAs (in case you are interning at non-governmental organization such as SSDO). The higher-ups are able to guide the interns in that direction where they should be heading towards so as to excel in their field smoothly.
To conclude, no doubt organizations play a vital role in developing one’s personality, skills, as well as their career. Internships, as mentioned earlier, are the gateway to one’s career. Internship is that stepping stone that needs to be taken before moving forward, because through that internship, one will be able to fully equip themselves for the real world.
Gault J, Redington J, Schlager T (2000) Undergraduate business internships and career success: are they related? J – Google Scholar