The year 2020 started off with an out of the ordinary and anxious period for all of us. The year was exceptionally difficult for students who have just graduated from college and are looking forward to a new chapter in their lives, I was no different person. Let me tell you how I landed an internship during these trying times.
My name is Preeta. I am 21 years old and currently working as a Marketing Intern at Relatas. This post is dedicated to Students from all over the world. No matter which Country, City, Community, College or Background you belong to, we graduate students are sailing in the same boat.
Fresh out of college we all crave a sense of independence and self-reliance. After getting a degree it's important to test our skills in real life situations. But how do you go about it?
I felt clueless at the beginning of the application process. I came across too many websites and job portals on the internet and I didn't know where to apply, how to apply, when to apply. I understood that it's difficult to get a real 9-5 job with absolutely no work experience. Exactly why an internship is important for us fresh graduates.
An Internship forms a bridge which connects us to our dream job/profession.
As Grad students, we are beginners and new entrants in any occupation/ profession. I knew that I needed to Intern to gain a glimpse into the real world of business.
An internship gives us an opportunity to apply our knowledge and raw skills (collected over years of schooling and college) into real & practical situations.
I started off with the same plan but then the world was hit with this unprecedented situation that made it almost impossible for me to make anything out of the first 6 months of 2020.
For me, 2020 was supposed to be a year full of hustle, new opportunities, avenues opening up, success and much more. Sadly, none of that happened until June.
Virtual internships and Remote working opportunities became the need of the hour. So instead of sulking in disappointment, I started applying to all kinds of companies- Big, Small, Medium-sized, Start-Ups, NPOs, etc.
It was difficult to land a job because most companies were laying people off and most resorted to a Hiring-Freeze.
Then I stumbled upon a sales & marketing internship opportunity at Relatas. As I was relentlessly applying to every company on the face of the planet, I applied to this one as well. I knew that this story won't be any different- they'll send me a rejection email like every other company.
But I was surprised to see an instant email from the CEO of the company in just 2 hours.
The first thing I did was I thoroughly researched the company- Relatas.
I learnt that Relatas is a renowned company with a booming business in this day & age with a global presence. Relatas essentially uses AI to make the job of sales people easier and efficient by providing them data which is up-to-date and accurate.
I understood that this is a product that can be used by any company in any industry all over the world. I had never studied or had known about this highly required function before and thus it got me intrigued.
Within 2 days of applying for the position, I had my first interview which went very smooth. I thought this would be it. But no.
The interview rounds that I went through were completely different and equally challenging. I got tasks and assignments for very round. They tested me in all areas related to Marketing. I was given 2-3 tasks which were discussed over 4-5 calls in a span of 2 weeks. Sudip (CEO of Relatas) gave me enough time to work on these tasks which helped me deliver at the best of my ability.
At Relatas we address each other on first name basis. It's a free work culture where everyone is equal. Initially I was very hesitant to call the CEO by his first name without using "sir" but now I am slowly getting a hang of it.
The first thing Sudip tested was my writing skills when he asked me to draft out a Sales pitch for potential clients in my own words. He gave me all the freedom to design and frame it the way I want.
Another thing he stressed on and still checks from time to time is my Research skills. When I started off with my interview rounds my research skills were below average. In just a month's time, under his guidance and support I can confidently say that my research skills have improved by 35-40%. This is am important skill that will help me in any field or industry or profession.
The best thing about this interview experience was that it gave me a real sense of having an internship. It almost felt like I had already got the job and I was working on real projects.
The second best thing is that I get to work directly with the CEO of the company. Sudip gave me the perfect feedback- negative and positive, without sugar-coating his words- this kept me on my toes and made me feel confident about whatever I was delivering. He taught me basics of a marketing job right since the first call- something that I had not learnt in college. I will always be grateful for his patience and considerate behavior.
The interview process was designed to make me feel job-ready. The learnings I have gathered from this experience are for a lifetime.
After 2 weeks of interviews, I had a final call with him and he gave me the internship offer. I remember feeling the happiest and proudest I have felt in a long time. The sense of achievement I felt is beyond words. When you eagerly waiting for something in your life, you put everything that you have into realizing that dream and then when you finally achieve it, it's the greatest feeling of all.
I knew that I wanted to work at Relatas because it will give me a wide range of learning experiences. This will form a good professional foundation for me. Almost 3 weeks into the job, I have learnt key job skills and also the virtue of Patience & Discipline.
Sudip gives me the liberty to choose my own deadlines and take full ownership of the material I present to him. This gives me enough time and space to work on applications for my Master's degree and at the same time manage my studies. It has also taught me how to identify my strengths and weaknesses.
Another thing I noticed at Relatas is the power of independence, something that I got a hang of at Relatas. I can choose when I can deliver and I work hard to meet self assigned deadlines. One thing I noticed that is very strictly followed at Relatas is commitment, once you have committed a date, you are expected to deliver by that date. But as they say, with power comes responsibility.
As the weeks go ahead I am looking forward to brushing up and polishing my skills and gathering many more experiences.
I would like to share a few tips and tricks for everyone who is trying very hard to get an internship/job:
1. The first critically important thing to do is: Work on your Resume. Every position you apply for will need you to send in a copy of your resume.
Keep your Resume crisp and to the point.
Don't write paragraphs. stick to bullet points that focus on your education, college engagements & achievements.
2. The interview process is most important. Working on your communication skills and presentation skills is of utmost importance. While you're at home and pretty free, work on that.
3. Another important thing to remember is that you're still very new at everything you do. Don't feel disheartened by rejections or negative feedback. Take everything in your stride and remember that every mistake you make is a lesson learnt. This will only help you in brushing up on your skills and moving forward.
Why is an internship important for students?
- It will help you make informed decisions about your future. Getting a glimpse in a professional world will aid in the process of choosing the right career path for you
- Exploration- Explore new fields, avenues, learning experiences, skills, etc.
- You get to meet and work with a diverse group of people. These are people coming from all walks of life with years of professional experience and knowledge.
- Networking- You form relationships with people that last a lifetime. Networking helps you reach new heights in your professional life.
- Mentor ship- Your supervisor/Boss fills the position of a mentor in your professional life. He/she guides you through all ups & downs. The guidance and Advice they give shape your personality.
- Workplace culture- this helps you work on your interpersonal skills, communication skills,etc. All these are important life skills which should be learnt at a young age.
- You get to add the experience to your resume. This gives you an edge over the others when you apply for a real job in the future.
- You get an opportunity to learnt from your seniors. You gather lessons along the way form your own mistakes and experiences.
Last but not the least- You learn important life skills and virtues like- Adaptability, Team Work, Work Ethics, Patience, Responsibility and Time Management.
All of these are essential to perform well at any job.