Interns. What a wonderful resource!
There are literally thousands of college graduates every year, more so in the more commercialised and industrialised states in the country. Many of these graduates try to find employment within those heavily industrialised states like Selangor and Penang while some also go to JB and over the Causeway.
Now, you may be asking these questions to yourself.
1. Would I be gaining a higher chance of getting a job in the highly competitive states?
2. How many possibilities are there for local companies to take in interns?
The third and most important question.
3. Have companies been interested to create:
a) A proper job description befitting a real job with training?
b) A sustainable pathway to absorb talented interns or have some system in place to recommend them to other companies or contacts?
Suffice to say, the current situation with unemployment in the country can be remedied to a certain extent if the local marketplace could have a change of mindset. The mindset being to understand that we are leaving a lot of sales on the table by not tapping into the strengths of the young properly. The marketplace needs to think a lot bigger than it is because that’s the only way to go, economic depression or not.
In my long years in the advertising industry, We’ve trained so many youngsters who just loved to show up for work. There is a familiar fire in their belly, of turning up for work early, economising on their lunch money because they were still living on their allowances (They get paid for sure).
Their ability to think fast, willing to thrive and go the extra mile to find solutions we didn’t even know exist to to existing challenges. For example, the simplicity of using free apps and software that we weren’t aware of as we’ve been using paid ones.
We took them along for our sales meetings and our clients loved meeting them, especially when the same solutions were given. Therefore, need I say this again, What a wonderful resource!
However, as opposed to our wonderful experience, we’ve also heard of some not so pleasant ones of bad treatment coming from both sides. Sometimes, the intern will not even turn up for the assignment or take many MCs. These interns weren’t aware that a potential testimonial from the employer will increase the mileage of their resume.
Sometimes, companies may want to explore the full potential of the interns by assigning them unrelated tasks. On the other hand, some have been given general admin work with vague targets and goals simply because of the disadvantages of the position. Truly talented interns have been asked to do mundane work that wouldn’t have brought them up to their potential, which is a serious disadvantage to both sides. Consequently, these talented interns might end up being unbothered with life, both from their own or others’ actions. Don’t even mention the part where they got discouraged and under-utilized.
Knowing what you want early on.
Sometimes, we don’t know what we really want. Even companies don’t know what they really want so they hire others to tell them what they should focus on. While taking what you can get and adapting is very good, you should not forget your core goals because hey, you’re young, time is on your side and the best years are ahead of you.
When you prepare for your student resume, remember to put in a clear Objective Statement. Remember our resume template from “Resumes of Recognition- Part 2? You can just follow the same albeit with a few changes.
1. The Objective Statement
In that post we gave an example like this for an experienced individual.
“Seeking a senior manager (or operations manager) position in the FMCG industry”.
But, your internship resume should sound something like this. You can change the industry where applicable.
“To obtain an internship in which I can assist in Product Design in the (FMCG industry/ Design Industry) using my designing background as well as my organisational skills”.
Again, these are not just words. They are what you want.
It allows the message to be conveyed in an easier way, and additionally, it’s an agreement that they should offer this to you if they can and that you’ve told them clearly so there’s no confusion on what is expected. As long as both parties treat this seriously, the outcome will be good for both.
2. Layout and Design
While you should insert the information that is relevant and make this into a One Page resume, try to use some ready made layouts you can download for free. One important area in layout are margins and text breathing space. Allowing about an inch of margin will ensure that it doesn’t get cut off when printed while the right choice of font will help the resume be easier on the eyes, allowing it to stand out. Better still, mail a physical copy printed on quality paper. This trick ensures your resume is first on the desk because if you think about it, processing, shortlisting and printing hundreds of applications takes a huge toll on the hiring manager. Make their work easier by doing this step for them.
3. Any prior work experience or volunteer work?
As mentioned in last week’s post, you can’t afford to leave this one out.
“Idleness from opportunity will cause opportunity to elude you”
4. Any other skills?
Do you have any practical college work like some app development or coursework? Better still if you can get these peer reviewed and certified by your lecturer or dean. These can be app development, public speaking and presentation, any HRDF Certification, college project work and the like. Again this is as important as point 3 and you can’t show up at the interview unarmed and without any certifiable work. Interviewers are hard pressed for results on their own turf and they can’t afford to waste time. They really want to know what others say about you, so we feel that any testimonial or recommendation for an inexperienced intern is way more valuable and will be referred to more than for an experienced candidate.
5. Recommendation letters and testimonials
As noted earlier, these are so important. One of the important virtues that these letters point out are the ability to build relationships and work alongside other people-teamwork and collaboration. These are vital in this generation as one’s work is linked to another. It’s so important that collaboration apps are all the rage in workplaces these days.
6. Have you previously been in any internship role?
If you’ve done any other internship elsewhere, you should include that in. You must acquire a testimonial from the boss and a few colleagues. A recommendation would also be good.
7. Any other outstanding leadership roles?
You should strive not to be timid and as some say, lead from the background. This will not be helpful in the real world as you have to show real and direct outcomes as a result of you being in charge. Putting that leadership role in is another advantage for that resume.
8. Share specific actions and outcomes
Instead of saying you’re a great team player, show incidents and jobs where you actually were a team player in all these college projects and the outcome of your actions benefiting the people all around you. Note these in a journal and ask your lecturer to mention your qualities favourably. If people of influence can endorse you, you’re well on your way to success.
Other Mentioned Tricks / Blog or website
I met one student who had a blog recording his work journey. It has a complete profile and work portfolio with almost every bit of information that we’ve presented here. Having such a blog requires so much more preparation and work compared to a resume, but it could really be worth it.
So to wrap up, here are the summarized points again. Do your best work here and you will surely stand out.
1 Tell them what you want – refer to Resume Template – Objective Statement
2. Layout- Relevant and Important Info
3. Any prior work experience or volunteer work.
4. Technical Skills- Any practical college work like some app development- this is important and other projects-coursework
5. Have you previously been in any internship role?
6. Recommendation letters and testimonials
7. Any other outstanding leadership roles?
8. By doing these, you can share specifics on what you did whilst a student.