Many of us are fully into the swing of things of the working year, except for those at university, who only get going next week. This column is for you. Use your last week of being on holiday to plan.
After a really long break it is hard to get a momentum going, especially when the start of the year is camouflaged by even more socialising. It forms part of your overall brand plan. An important part of your studies is making contacts, friendships and relationships, and often one re-ignites these relationships in business years later. However, if the socialising has too much focus you may end up adding a year or two to your studies, which makes you lag behind on the starting blocks.
See your years as an opportunity to learn more than merely in lectures. Join societies, play sport or even turn your hobby into a business. Watch others succeeding in the industry you have chosen, and preferably, use those long holidays to officially learn and absorb during internships.
I am a huge fan of internships, having taken on interns for almost every year. I have witnessed firsthand how important they are, and have closely followed the progress of those who excelled. Interesting to note how students who shone in their internships have had really successful careers, whilst those who were merely going through the motions to put something on their CV, have merely survived?
Some tips for getting an intern position:
- See everyone you meet and interact with as a possible contact.
- Parents of friends are part of your contact base. Talk to them about their work. Approach them for possible internships, and most importantly, don’t rely on your friends or your parents to do it for you.
- Try to make a personal introduction first, rather than sending yet another email to clog up an inbox. A phone call or face-to-face discussion is of far more value.
- Have your CV ready and waiting – professional, concise and distinctive.
- Know that your activities in social media space will be viewed as part of your application, now and in later years, so control that carefully.
- When you get a response from a company, be available for an interview and preferably have some work or a portfolio ready for presentation.
- Prepare for your interview as if you are applying for a long-term position – take it seriously.