If you're a Nigerian graduate with ears, you've probably heard about internships. Either an uncle gets you a place in his company or you do it the hard way. You go out and source for internship opportunities around your local government. And after all that hard work to secure an internship, you get paid a ridiculous amount for doing all the work or nothing for running only domestic errands. So what's the big deal you might ask? Shouldn't a degree be enough to get a job after graduation? And isn't an internship a lot of useless work for little or no pay?
My answers lie in the following facts about internships and interning. Enjoy!
1.Regardless of the low pay, you need the experience.
The pay issue is true. It's difficult to find an internship that pays well, if at all. The degree part is different, though. It's becoming harder and harder for university graduates to find work right out of school with nothing but a framed certificate. Most companies look for real world experience when hiring and the best way to get that experience is through an internship. Despite the low pay, internships are worth it in the long run if you want to get your foot in the door and figure out your future.
2.You’ll keep running errands if you don’t ask to be a part of the process.
Most people think the point of an internship is to serve coffee or run mindless errands. Everyone at some point has formed a negative image of the tortured intern trapped in a cubicle (that’s if you get one), filing endless amounts of paperwork. It's not always like that, though, and it doesn't have to be. Sure, you may have to perform a few menial tasks here and there -- that's part of any job. But most companies offer all kinds of opportunities for interns to get hands-on experience and learn the right technology. Thing is though, you have to ask for it most times and show yourself worthy of being assigned to tasks that actually relate to your field, that way you won’t just be the intern that knows where the best meals are served.
You might work for a local news station and help edit footage for an upcoming story. Or maybe you'll crunch numbers for a big sales pitch and draw up all sorts of fun graphs. Whatever the case, chances are you'll play an important part in any process and receive a great opportunity to watch the real thing in action. Even if, going by my internship experience, I can’t tell you that people who work around you will be generally very open, knowledgeable and willing to help, I’ll still urge you to ask as many questions as you can in order to get a more complete picture of the career.
3.Internships offer a great sneak peek into a possible career path.
What's the best-case scenario? If you work hard enough and impress the company, there's a chance they might offer you a full-time position. Even if you decline and eventually decide to find work elsewhere, getting an offer out of an internship will look great on your CV or resume.
If you don't get an offer, that's OK, too. The company may not have a position available, or maybe you just wouldn't want to work there. An internship provides you with two great tools. First, you gain excellent real world experience and a great CV/resume builder. Second, you get an inside look into a field of work you're interested in, helping you make that career path a little less sketchy. The least an internship will do is get you thinking about what you want to do for a living.
4.How do you get an internship opportunity?
There are several ways to find the right internship for you. I’m not going to tell you to go look at the career center on your campus, although that might be a good first stop -- they should have an abundance of resources to help make your search easier, but usually, if you attend a public university, they probably won’t.
So, keep a lookout for random job fairs on campus, a search on the web will give you several networking sites from which to choose, or ask friends and relatives if they know someone with any connections, now that's something that always works in these parts, if you what I mean.
You can leave a comment below if you’re looking for internship opportunities. you never know who might see it.