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A few years ago, I was participating in a workshop on skills development, there, one of the workshop assistants Mr Jennings had asked all of us “Kids, what do you think an internship is?” We all had different answers for this very easy question, but all of us were consensual on one point that it is something we do to enhance our skills, gain experience and at times we just do it to qualify our course in case internship is a mandatory requirement for the course. You will not believe what Mr Jennings thoughts about internship were. Well, he said, “Kids, it is a sacrifice you make during your vacation to get that one extra line on your resume.” Trust me all of us had chills down our veins on a sultry June afternoon. We or I should say I never for once thought about it this way. That was the day I realized the importance of the internship and why I should take it seriously. I realized that I am letting go of my vacation for it, might as well do it properly and make it worth it.
If you are someone looking for tips on getting a good internship in the USA, then it is exactly what we are going to discuss today. Let me give you a few pointers that may make your stride a little easy. Hold on, fasten your seat belts and let’s go!
If you wish to enjoy the exciting and an educational adventure of being an intern in the United States, this is the first point you need to deliberate upon. J-1 is the visa that legally allows you to intern in the USA for around 3 weeks to 12 months and is a must-have if you are not a US citizen. Every country has got a different visa plan, make sure to look it up and see the prospects and procedure of securing it for your plans for the internship. Therefore you need to plan and get the process or a potentiality of getting the visa sorted before you start applying for an internship in the USA or anywhere abroad.
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Research about an ideal place
Do not and I repeat do not make a list of places that you can apply to, by blindly typing your industry and looking for its famous contributors on a search engine. This can be the biggest mistake that you ever make with respect to your place of internship. Your internship association’s name will remain with you for the rest of your career. You do not want to just do an internship for the sake of doing it, you are entrusting your efforts, time, money and most importantly your hope in that organisation. Make a wise decision. You can do so by first looking up for the potential places that you may want to intern with. Next step is to become all Sherlock Holmes about it by digging every bit of information about those places. Make a list of pros and cons and see which organisation’s cons bother you the least.
Once you are sure about the places you wish to intern with, next step is to make sure you land a spot with one of them. You can do this only if you plan way ahead of your internship period. It is not necessary that you will get the internship spot right when you apply for it. To ensure a sure spot, you need to apply at least 5-6 months before the time when you actually want to pursue the internship. For example, if you want to intern in June start applying from January itself. This does two things for you- first of all, your chances of getting a spot increase manifold and secondly, it shows the company that they are not some last resort option for you and you are making an informed decision of being associated with them.
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Draft a resume and cover letter according to the country’s style
Work culture and lingo of every country is different. Research how Americans write their resume and cover letters. Try to research on small grammatical things that they follow. I know you must be wondering it is only English, how tough can that be? But trust me there is a huge difference between linguistics, syntax and the accepted norms of resume writings and cover letters. Every country has its own culture and you need to fit in that. Look up a few samples, write a rough draft, try to contact that country’s professional who can help you with this. With the dawn of the era of social media contacting people regarding this should not be a big deal.
Once your internship application has seen the light of the day, it does not necessarily imply that you will get a positive response or a response at all. You then need to pull up your socks and need to do some following up on your application. First of all, send one or two gentle email reminders. Next thing that you can do is to try speaking to the HR or the person of interest with an appointment. Remember that you only have to follow up and not nag them with your persistent calls or bombardment of emails. They are already loaded with it and they don’t want you to add on to their pile of the nagging lot.
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Your internship can give you the big break of your career. Don’t just live it like a bad dream. Be proactive about it and in it. Volunteer for work, participate in various events and make you noticed. As an intern, you are a learner and all the teachers love inquisitive and zealous students. They may not have anything to offer you in terms of money but go there and survive there for the knowledge, for there is no replacement for this virtue. I hope that the blog was useful and you get your desirable internship soon enough. Good Luck! Happy Reading!
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