Well, Newton was right. A body prefers to stay in rest unless a force acts on it. That was me during the summer holidays, lazing around while the temperatures soared to a record high this year! Despite the heat wave, there was another impending wave on its way: the new academic year, with a bunch of whole new challenges.
I found myself an internship at a company called SIM-CI, which is located in Den Haag. Unfortunately, having to move out of Delft meant that I had to travel longer, which also meant a bit extra time commuting! While I really enjoy the work I am doing there, I have been taking keen efforts to not miss out on activities at TU Delft. As an international non-EU student myself, the high fees often attract many similar students to look for an internship/thesis in a company to reduce their expenses by a certain measure, while also gaining valuable work experience. Although I do not have a sureshot formula, I can tell you a few things I did to finalize my internship:
- I got my CV checked:
People often underestimate the precision in creating a winning CV. While I haven’t perfected the art myself, I took help from the various CV checks held by third parties at the university. After compiling all their suggestions together, I found out the common fallacies and corrected them.
Apart from correcting my CV, I was not really getting a lot of responses until I began modifying my CV as per the requirement/job profile of the company. Targeted attacks are a lot more effective than quantity, I learnt.
- Found a niche I am interested in:
During my first years of masters, there were a lot of topics within my research group of choice which interested me. Being from Power Engineering, the current surge in renewable energy and smart grids has put in a lot of options on the table. Despite the choices, after a couple of months of internship hunting, I started focussing on certain topics which I could see myself working on and learning, much later beyond university life as well – like power flows and RTDS simulations. After I assured myself of my choice, I found it much easier to approach companies regarding opportunities.
- Starting early:
This was one mistake I made which luckily did not end up biting me on the back. While I managed to secure an internship, its always best to start the search early. Not only does it give you more time and companies to apply to, it also helps with the grey time of official paperwork. This allows for more time to carefully read the contract offered by the company, and announce any objections/queries before you begin interning.
Personally, I was a little struck up on time due to personal delays. But since processing files take time on both the company and the university side, its best to start as early as possible(probably around mid 3rd quarter is best, to start).
- Talk to your professors/supervisors:
Universities often have contact with companies regarding research on certain areas. As a result professors may have contacts within a few companies through which they can recommend a few students/candidates for internship positions. Do not be shy in asking for any possible leads with professors who have already taught you/teaching you as they know you and know if you could possibly fit as an intern into any of the companies they have contacts with.
Jobs apart, talking with professors and supervisors builds up a rapport which goes in a long way in the future.
Good luck in the new academic year, and may the odds be always on your side!