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How to get an internship?

When I came to Germany, I was told to focus on three things language, internship, and travel. So as a student, you cannot ignore the importance of an internship. Because in Europe internship is the stepping stone to a job. It is a fact that often students do a few internships before landing a job.

Now depending on your experience, you need to be familiar with many types of interview. Below mentioned are certain kinds of it:

  • Telephonic: Scheduled or Unscheduled
  • Skype
  • On-site or f2f

Now, before jumping directly to the interviews, it should be noted that you need to apply for it and be lucky enough to get the interview calls. But let us first discuss the steps before getting the calls.

  1. Choose the various companies in which you are interested in
  2. Study them and their processes
  3. Find out the vacancies open in your field of choice on company websites or other portals like stepstone, indeed, Berlin-startup, Xing, LinkedIn, etc.
  4. Prepare your cover letter and resume according to the requirements/positions
  5. Have all the relevant documents like certificates, visa, reference letters and other documents pertinent to the position you are applying for
  6. Apply
  7. Wait patiently for the interview call

Now let me decipher the points mentioned above one by one. First, it is essential to choose the company you want to apply because there are a sea of businesses and if you don’t know which one to apply to you would get lost.

Second, doing comprehensive research is very important as you need to be clear about what the company is doing or stands for (if you don’t want to invest much time now, be prepared to do it after the call).

Third, there are many ways to find the vacancies in the companies of your choice but remember it is not every time you would see a job posting on a job portal, therefore if you have the company in mind look on their websites regularly this also ensure that you would have a bit of less competition from other applicants.

Fourth, you need to prepare a cover letter also known as motivation letter for the post you are applying for, and you should also update your resume based on the position as not everything is relevant to every position.

Fifth, after getting ready with the cover letter and the resume, be ready with various documents like certificates, reference letters, visa copies etc. to attach at the time application.

Sixth, now after getting ready for everything you can start applying.

Seventh, so far as you have done your part, relax and wait for the response. Depending on the company and their requirements you can expect a response in a week to a few months.

Now, either you would get an interview call or an unfortunate email of rejection. Both should be accepted humbly. In a case of rejection don’t lose your heart but try to figure out things which might have gone wrong. In most case either you do not fulfill their requirements (which you can work upon), or there are better candidates than you (this is not in anybody’s hand) in line. If you are fortunate enough you would get an interview call. Even for an internship, there may be multiple rounds, and in most cases, the first round is a telephonic or Skype HR round. After this, there is a technical round, and in the end, the company would invite you for a face to face meeting at their office. It is important to note that some cases may have one round consisting of HR and technical and then face to face interview and in some situations, only one round would decide your fortune. So, therefore it depends on company to company.

Before giving the interview learn some interview etiquettes which are necessary online. Here are some things which I would point from my experience:

Telephonic: be prepared in advance to talk in a quieter space, have pen and paper handy and in case if you have to encounter any unscheduled interview rather than screwing up ask for any other convenient time.

Skype: be formally dresses, speak slowly and ask for clarifications if you do not understand something, have a proper angle on your camera

Face-to-face: dress formally, reach on time, greet the panelist, ask questions, and say goodbye in the end.

Assessment tests and case studies are a vital part of the interviews nowadays so be prepared for that as well. It can be at any stage of the interview.

After knowing all these, you might be thinking what type of questions can I expect from an interview. Therefore, let me share real-life interview questions to give you an idea. Note that I have given many interviews and there are only minor variations in the type of questions, this is what you would most probably be getting depending on the kind of position you apply.

Product Management Intern with an eCommerce: 

  • Why e-commerce?
  • What can you learn from a company like us?
  • Have you worked in Project Management?
  • What do you expect from this intern position and what do you expect from our company?
  • Have you used our service? Yes, then what do you think can be improved to increase the effectiveness of it?
  • What kind of working environment do you need to be successful?
  • How do you rate yourself in Excel (What are you missing to make it 10)?
  • Have you worked with Vlookup? Can you explain what it is?
  • Have you worked with Pivot Table?
  • How many liters of paint would be required to paint the side strips across the full length of road in Germany?
  • How about availability?
  • You wrote about Schengen visa, are you allowed to work anywhere in this region?
  • What questions do you have for me?

If you analyze the above questions, you can figure out that the questions can be divided into three categories. First, question-based on your CV. Second, questions based on your motivation to join the company. Third, questions to test your logical skills. And fourth, closing questions.

I hope this article would help you to find an internship. Please note that every point mentioned here can be explained in detail, but my goal is to cover the process of getting an internship succinctly.

Do share your experiences and suggestions for further improvement in the comment section.

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