Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Five Simple Tips to your First Internship

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Every tertiary student in Singapore should get at least an internship before they graduate and it’s really not about fulfilling your academic unit requirements in order to graduate or letting employers exploit you as free labour to just do tasks nobody else in the company wishes to do.
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As a fresh graduate, there is nothing substantial for your potential employers to gauge if you’re worth the ‘hassle’ of hiring and training. Well, face it. As fresh graduates you’re more of a liability than an asset in (at least) the first few months of your employment, so all the more the employers would want to see as much Singapore internship experiences on your CV as possible, as compared to the numbers of As and Bs stated in your degree audit.

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And so, here are my five humble tips in making the best out of your internship Singapore!

1. Clean up your resume and tailor your cover letter
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Yes, it’s just a 3 months internship, but you wouldn’t gain anything if you didn’t even land yourself the position of an intern, right?
Always remember to keep your CV short and sweet, bringing your potential employer straight to the point that you wishes for them to focus on, be it how well you’ve aced the structures module (and you’re applying to a structural designing firm) or how you’ve managed to lead your CCA club to kickstart the annual event with a resounding bang, just make sure you’re selling yourself in the correct direction to which the company is looking for.
Likewise for your cover letter. Do not ever skip the cover letter as it’s the first thing that the hiring manager will look at while going through your application. A well written cover letter, tailored to the actual jobscope, leaves a good impression and heighten your chances of getting the internship while one laced with grammatical and spelling errors might send your resume directly into the bin.

2. Don’t get tunnel vision when applying – It’s all about the experiences.
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Aim for the big names as it adds more wow factor to your CV when you apply for your first permanent job?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t always go this way. Employers are smarter than that now and I’ve heard enough from my own potential employers themselves during interviews, saying that one actually learns more in smaller (one man does all) firms.
It’s really what you did during the internship that matters, not the company name you went under for that few months.

3. Don’t expect to get an internship from your dream company, always.
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Don’t let the replies of rejections (or worse, no replies at all) get you down. You really do not need to intern at that big company, just because they’re well known for good employee welfare and amazingly comfortable office.
Let me regurgitate the fact now, it’s all about the experiences gained while you’re there. And to a certain extent, just for internships itself, focusing on quantity might really do you some good too, for not every firms treat their interns the same way. You might end up learning zero here, and gain a hundred at your next internship programme, who knows!

4. Bring Your "A" Game to the Interview
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It’s an interview for an internship, but you still got to fight hard for it. Be sure to turn up on time (or rather, slightly early), dressed formally, and well prepared for a good ‘chit-chat’ session with the hiring manager. Other than a possible discussion of your grades (I was once asked why I didn’t do as well in a particular module, and was expected to explain and justify why), do expect the hiring manager to ask questions that are ‘deeper’, such as:
What do you want to do with your life?
Why are you interested in this profession/major?
What do you bring to the table in terms of skill sets?
What makes you different or special?
In other words, be prepared to convince them that you are THE INTERN they absolutely have to hire!

5. Enjoy the experience!
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It sound so simple but is not easy to achieve. No matter what comes your way, keep all your positivity close by you and embrace the challenges with an open mind and a ‘can-do’ attitude. Bear this in mind, it’s all the experiences of your internships in Singapore that counts.
Till then,
Mia Foo


  1. It's really vital to know where and what company you will undergo your internship. When I was in college I was so confused as to where will I go for internship I had 2 company. First was a non government for their IT department then I finished my 409+ hours in court of appeals of the Philippines

  2. The best part of college life is also the hardest part. Why? Because this is where you will assess yourself what company your going for your OJT(on-the-job-training) or internship. Understand the two keys to life as a happy graduating student---setting goals and making plans ahead!

  3. This is very helpful. My son will start his internship next year; these tips will help him.

  4. I'm going to be starting my internship really soon and I'm so happy I stumbled upon this! So incredibly helpful :D

  5. An internship is automatically part of my course prior to graduation so I had a different experience. This immersion in real job experiences is really very valuable for your future adjustment in your chosen career for real.

  6. Great points you got here :)
    I'd like to add - a good university helps, but companies & employers look at the experience that one's had. Awesome grades are plus points but experience will take you far. While one is in an internship, I'd suggest that he or she starts building his or her portfolio too. It will be very helpful in the future.

  7. Before graduating, students must undetwent internship and training for their chosen field. Likewise, experiencing the actual job to have the all-outlook of the job itself.

  8. Wow! I am sure those young adults who are in their final year will have to go through internship like me last time. During our intern we have work, learn new skills and most important of all interpersonal skills to able to work as a team.

  9. I miss internship, those days when we were still learning while having fun. I'm glad, my profession is connected with my course and what I have used the knowledge I learned from my OJT

  10. These are pretty useful internship tips! The first one is definitely one of the most important one. Do go for a resume writing course if possible!

  11. I need to share this with my daughter. She's looking for her first job now that it's summer and she needs all the tips she can get.

  12. It is important that you pick a good company during internship because it could really help you score a good job after graduation. However, it is true that companies find fresh graduates a liability than an asset so many fresh graduates are usually unemployed. What some people would do is get employed to jobs they don't really like just to earn experience and then after a while, they'll resign and pursue with the company they've always been interested in.

  13. I never been for an internship, however, I worked part time a lot during uni time. I guess it is actually similar as long as you work and learn something valuable.

  14. I guess when it comes to internship. Try to generate a great CV and also a good image and be realistic on your expectations.

  15. the last advise is the most important. Sit back and enjoy your interaction at the job. learning is the best when you are relaxed and happy.

  16. this is really helpful for those who are looking for internship. i have shared my experience during the first day of my internship and also feeling before, during and after the interview session. feel free to have a look at my articles:


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