Hey everyone! Welcome to my blog. I (surprisingly) received a number of questions regarding my internship which I briefly talked about in my last Life Update. So, because all those questions came as a result of people reading that post, I decided to answer them here because content.
If you don’t know, I’m currently doing my engineering internship and I am in my 6th week! 6 weeks down, 6 weeks to go but who’s counting. A lot of questions I received involved how I got the internship, my allowance, my experience etc. I will not be answering all those questions in this post but I will be telling you how I got the internship.
I applied to a total of 6 companies in Malaysia and I know people who applied to over 20 companies. I got responses from all 6 of them but only 1 could accept me for the time period I requested. So, I hope my tips help you avoid applying to so many places and hopefully get the internship you want.
Identify where you’d like to work
I had a rough idea of what companies I wanted to apply to a year before my internship was supposed to commence. I also knew I wanted to work with consultants/designers as opposed to contractors and I wanted to work at a company that had branches internationally just so it wouldn’t be so obvious that I’m not Malaysian. All these things helped narrow my search so I didn’t apply to just any place. Every company I looked at had to satisfy all my criteria before I could apply.
So, knowing where you’d like to work or the type of company you’d like to work with helps to narrow your search, saves you a lot of time and gives you a shot at working somewhere you actually like (to avoid crying during lunch break every single day).
Start your search early
Assuming you know the kind of company you’d like to work at, start searching for companies like that early. One company I called when applying told me they get applications for internships at least two months before the internship is due to commence and I called them when I had less than a month left. That was an instant “No” from them to me So start your search early to avoid missing out on great opportunities. Starting early makes it less stressful and gives you a lot more time to prepare.
Call the companies
Don’t just send your resume but call them first and find out if they get interns or not. I cannot stress this point enough. If you call and they say no, you saved yourself time from sending an application and getting annoyed if you don’t get feedback.
Also, I discovered that the times I called asking for internships, some companies gave me another email address to send my application to instead of the one on the website. So call to get as much information as you can so that if they tell you they do accept interns, you know that they are expecting your application and will most likely respond to you. Being denied a job hurts. The first “No” I got really shocked me.
Make use of the internet
I googled “Top engineering consultants” and then visited the websites of the companies that came up. Also, you could literally just search for “Internships in …”. Make use of job search websites and take advantage of your social media too. You never now where that leads you.
I found the place I’m working at during a random google search and here I am now.
Talk to your lecturers, attend career talks at your school/university and get contacts from there. This definitely could be a huge help especially if they remember you. I know people who got their internships in this manner.
Send all the proper documents
If possible, find out what the company you’re interested in applying to has any special requirements so that when you send your documents, you send everything in full. Also, write a really good CV/resume just to help you stand out, even though you’ll never know if you really did or not.
Have a plan B and be patient
The Malaysian student visa doesn’t exactly allow students to work unless it’s part of your course. I would really like to believe this is the reason some companies stay away from hiring international students. To avoid possible run ins with the police? People sometimes completely fail to find places to work here. Sometimes, your university may come up with something to help you, like maybe give you a job on campus, which I honestly didn’t want, but ends up being the best option for some.
My plan B was to skip the semester and do the internship another time, which would have meant an additional semester and I had no problem with that at all. So, in as much as you should be positive and hopeful that you’ll find a place, it’s good to have another option especially if you’re in a situation like mine.
I was really stressed about all this but having a plan B, and being ready for it just made me relax.
Those are my few tips on how to get an internship. These worked for me and I hope they work for you too. I’ll be answering more questions about my internship and sharing more about my experience in coming posts so keep sending me your questions!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but this is my second post this week! I know. It’s hard for me to believe too. I really needed to get this one out there. With that said, if you haven’t already, check out Monday’s very interesting post here.
Thanks for reading!