Internships come as second nature to getting full-time jobs, whether you’re a student, or a graduate looking for opportunities. The job market tends to fluctuate at irregular intervals, something that makes the whole thing highly competitive, and incredibly frustrating. Some of you are students; most of you are soon-to-be graduates. A lot of you are an unemployed group of graduates looking for a chance to prove yourself. What’s the trick to succeed in this case? Here’s how to get an internship at a prestigious company in Pakistan.
When someone starts looking for an opportunity, the last thing they’d want to do is making copies and fetching coffee. If you land an internship, you’re determined to make the experience better. So, when it comes to landing the perfect internship, knowing what the company wants is of utmost importance.
Everyone says that having internship experience on your CV is important, sure. But what would you say is the biggest benefit?
Focus, networking, mentorship, and developing a certain skillset.
Immediate Action & Preparation | How Salman Did It
Salman’s saga started in 2009, when his pushy mother called and asked him to get an internship. It was the spring of Salman’s freshman year, so you can guess the ‘order’ caught him off guard. Being anxious and feeling under pressure, he headed for NUST’s career counselling office situated at SADA (School of Art, Design & Architecture).
After visiting the guidance counsellor, Salman found out that he had to be a junior or senior if he wanted help. They said, ‘come back and see us in three years.’
Heartbroken, Salman decided to do his own research. He knew that he had a knack for public relations, marketing and entertainment – so, he decided to give Cold Calling a try. He punched “PR internships in Islamabad” into Google. A list of Glassdoor-tagged opportunities for Mobilink Jazz came up in the search results, but there wasn’t any internship contact listed there.
Salman called Jazz at 042 111 300 300 and asked to speak to an internship coordinator. He got through, and a lady with awesome communication skills asked him to send in a résumé and cover letter.
Taking Immediate Action When You Get A Lead
Thinking it was a long shot, Salman decided to do some more Googling. His intention was to put together more materials for future use. He sent Jazz his CV and cover letter within 30 minutes preceding his little call with a senior Jazz official.
To his surprise and excitement, his phone rang the next day at 10 a.m.
Salman thought he did something wrong, but the coordinator was impressed by his promptness. The lady said ‘you don’t know how long students take to send their materials’. An interview was scheduled for next week.
Preparing For An Interview You Never Thought You’d Get
Before his meeting, Salman poured over Jazz’s website, their mission statement and executive bio. He went through things that felt familiar with people running the company. Here’s what he learnt:
- To look for things you have in common with the people who run the company
- If you run into the head of the company on the elevator the first day, greet him/her.
Are we beginning to understand a few tricks behind landing your first internship? If you’re still confused, the following instructions will definitely help. Read, then scroll down for what happened later in Salman’s quest:
Pause | Read Instructions Before Continuing With The Story
- Cold calling
Think outside the box and contact your company of interest. Somewhere along the way, you’re bound to land a face-to-face with officials you’ve impressed with a single phone call!
- Taking immediate action
If prompted for sharing CV and cover letter with your company of interest, be vigilant and act without delaying the timeframe. This shows you’re good on time-management skills and work well with deadlines!
- Preparing for interview
Before appearing for your scheduled interview, visit the company’s website and go through their About section. If possible, find their mission statement, learn the essence behind it and plan your interview according to the company profile.
- Ask what the internship would entail
Be curious. Don’t just use the interview as an info-gathering session. Ask questions like ‘Can you describe a typical day in the life of an intern at your company?’. Be open about your skills and emphasize the value your enrolment would bring to the company.
Salman’s second internship, in the summer 2009, was also initiated by his mother. She called to let her son know how well her friends’ children were doing, interning at MNCs and building their networks with senior officials. This revelation hit him hard. Salman decided to act AGAIN.
He visited his internship coordinator for advice, and the kind lady helped him use Jazz’s media guide. This time Salman wanted to work in Business Intelligence. But, he got rejections or no responses from half a dozen companies like VisionX, Teradata, and RapidCompute.
Finally, he stumbled on IBM’s network. Salman’s cold call reached IBM’s Senior Data Engineer. But the guy said they didn’t hire interns and wanted to get the poor guy off the phone. Salman persisted, and said, ‘I can be your first intern’.
The Data Engineer was persuaded. That’s internship No.2!
Make A List | How To Get An Internship In A Prestigious Company In Pakistan
Once Salman had a few internships under his belt, he was ready to shoot for work that inspired his focus on data-centric functions. He started looking up his favorite CEOs and checked their contact info on Google; hello Pakistan!
Salman saw that most data-driven companies had a lot of PR partners. So, he decided to make a list of all such companies with their contact details and deadlines.
After making the list, he went through it methodically. One of his top choices, Oracle Pakistan, expressed interest, but said he had to interview in person.
Salman accepted their offer of a part-time internship, after having a little face-to-face with their Comms guy at Café 1969.
Later in his senior year at college, Salman got a 6-month internship at Unilever as an Operations Intern.
Continuing With Instructions | The Final Call | How To Get An Internship At A Prestigious Company In Pakistan
- Follow up
Check/Enquire about your applications every 2 weeks after you’ve sent it. Write a short note asking whether your CV arrived, or if the company required additional information. If you applied through an online career portal, call the company and ask to speak with the internship coordinator.
- Ask for a letter of recommendation two weeks before your internship ends
Carrying one or more recommendation letters help you land your next internship. Get the process going two weeks before your job ends, and offer to write the recommendation letter yourself. When making the request, say something like, ‘look, I know you’re extremely busy. I’d love to get a recommendation from you. I can write one and you can have a look at it!’.
- Work hard. Leave handwritten thank you notes after your internship ends
Plug away at your internships. Your hard work gets acknowledged, and your network grows with you realizing it. After your internship ends, write thank you letters for people who supervised you. Using sticky notes would help!
The intriguing thing about Salman’s story is how far he got with cold calling, persistence and perseverance. Since he started his internship journey back in 2009 – 5 years later – he has built a network of hundreds – if not thousands – of contacts. As the story shows, it only takes the first internship to initiate your networking.
P.S After graduation, Salman landed a job at the first place he worked as an intern. Today, he’s working as an Inventory Manager for Huawei. What a journey this guy has had!
Well, there you have it guys! This was all about how to get an internship in a prestigious company in Pakistan. We decided to insert a little case study in this one, because a good story always makes things easier to understand. If you have any questions, leave a comment in the section provided below.