Why should I get an internship?
Finding an internship can sometimes be a frustrating journey, yet also a very rewarding one. Internships look great on your CV and increase your marketability as a young professional when entering the job market! Perhaps you have a vague idea of what you want to do after your studies? An internship can give you a feel for a specific industry, company, and your passions! With an internship, you can explore what you like or, even more importantly, what you dislike.
All in all, I can advise everyone to experience an internship as they are great tools for networking, learning professionalism, and exploring your interests. From my personal experience, I can say that my internships and student jobs provided me with knowledge on how I want to establish myself as a young professional. I have learned to work on my professionalism in an office setting and that feedback should not be taken as harsh criticism but instead; something to learn from! And lastly; I have learned that I like the field of business intelligence and that I for sure want to pursue a career in a fun and fast-paced industry such as video games!
How to find an internship?
However, how do you find an internship? Here is my experience and some tips for your journey!
1. Start early with your search! I cannot emphasize this enough, as I myself am a person who prefers to do everything last minute (and then regret my actions deeply). This is especially true if you are considering finding an internship abroad because you need to plan your stay, permits, and visas in advance.
For both my working and thesis internship I was very lucky to find a company I was passionate about just in time. However, such unnecessary stress could have been prevented if I had started my search earlier! Oftentimes, the recruiting period for September starts a couple of months earlier, around March. And for the February period, the recruiting starts around October. However, you are not restricted to wait for the company to officially start publishing their vacancies. You can always call or email the recruiters in advance!
2. Establish your internship criteria. What kind of job do you want? Do you want to get a position strictly in marketing, finance, or logistics? Or do you want the possibility to explore multiple roles and departments? Also, what kind of industries and companies interest you? Are you extremely passionate about the automotive industry? Or do you want to work at a start-up instead of a multinational? Setting such guidelines for yourself can help you to narrow your search so you will feel less overwhelmed!
From personal experience, I was very stubborn with what I wanted; I definitely wanted to work in a marketing position in the gaming industry. However, there are few gaming publishers in the Netherlands and publishers abroad have different internship criteria (e.g. the UK often requires 1-year internships). In the end, I acquired an internship at Activision Blizzard, and it was a great experience! My role helped me to get into business intelligence, and after my second thesis internship, I gained even more interest in coding and data science.
3. Update your CV & LinkedIn! Personally, I like to create my CVs on Canva.com. You can use a ton of free templates and customize them completely to fit your personality and target audience. Also note that if your internship semester or gap year is not yet in the near future; student jobs, committees, and summer internships are great for your CV! My student job as a salesperson at Intertoys (a Dutch toy store) proved as a boost to get an internship at a gaming company. Then during my digital marketing student job, it was easier for me to score a thesis internship at CGI. Experience builds on each other!
4. Utilise job-hunting websites! Some of my favorites include:
• LinkedIn: Personally, I find LinkedIn great as there is a huge selection of internship possibilities, in the Netherlands or abroad. Also, you can save vacancies to look back on, even if they go offline. Moreover, you can search for specific recruiters and managers working at a company and connect with them!
• RSM Career Portal: When I started at RSM, I was surprised by the number of vacancies on the career portal! There is a large selection of student jobs, teaching assistant positions, internships, and full-time options. RSM has amazing alumni and student resources to find an internship; use them!
• Study associations: Did you know that MAEUR has some great partners and events? You can join many association events such as with Shell, Google, Amazon, and smaller companies such as Dapper Rhinos! Here you can actively engage with potential employers and explore career interests in (but not limited to) marketing, business development, and data! Check our career portal here. https://maeur.nl/students/career-portal/vacancies
• Some other nice job-hunting websites include Indeed.com, Magnet.me, Youngcapital, Monsterboard and Nationalevacaturebank.
5. Call, email, and utilize your network! Are there any specific companies you are interested in? Try calling the office to speak with a specific manager or department for internship possibilities! Sometimes the emails of a specific recruiter or department are also available! This can be a quick way to learn if and when there are internship positions available and to speak with relevant employees directly.
Also, do not be afraid to ask your network! Did you see someone you know work at an awesome company? Send them a message, acquiring more information about the company and potential vacancies!
Hopefully, these tips can inspire you to start thinking about your internship journey! My biggest tip: do not get frustrated about rejections. Often, getting rejected is a blessing. Because you want to work at an awesome place where you can establish yourself professionally in a company culture that fits your needs.
Good luck & “werk ze” ;)