Internships are a great way for students to gain work experience and learn about the practical application of their coursework. They also increase chances of landing jobs as students with work experience are more likely to stand out to potential employers. Students looking to secure internships are advised to take note of the following:
1. Use online resources to find internship opportunities as a number of institutions advertise vacancies online. This search should not be limited to a Google search. Remember to check for vacancies on Twitter and LinkedIn as a number of companies and organisations are advertising vacancies and internship opportunities through these platforms today.
2. Be strategic. Know what types of internships will aid in the furtherance of your career goals. Identify the institution(s) you are interested in working at and find out every detail you can about it including their vision, mission, values, projects, corporate social responsibility activities, periods over which internships are offered, where internship opportunities are advertised and the application process. In a nutshell, know the institution(s)! Remember to be an early applicant and seize any opportunities you may come across to network with those who already work at the institution(s).
3. Consult your lecturers. They can provide beneficial advice based on practical experience in the relevant field. Some lecturers are also part of institutions where they can accommodate you as an intern. For example, at the School of Law, students secure internships at lecturers' law firms in the course of their study.
4. Consult friends and students with internship experience. Students who have already taken up one or more internships are in a position to provide valuable advice on internships based on their experience. They can provide insights on how to secure internships, which places to intern at, how to be a good intern and shed light on any other lessons they have learnt during their internships.
5. Events and networking. Attend the events (conferences, workshops, seminars) held at your campus and use them as networking opportunities to build connections. Referrals are "the order of the day" in Kenya hence these connections may prove instrumental in securing jobs and internships. For many, networking can feel arduous at first, but remember to keep practising.
6. Once you have secured an internship, be a good intern by giving your best at the work required of you, and following the rules and regulations of the institution. Good interns who contribute to the institution are often assimilated by the institution.
7. Note that it can become hectic to manage an internship with your studies and classes. You can manoeuvre this challenge by taking up internship opportunities during the 4-month holidays that are allocated for each academic year, or by signing up for evening classes instead of day classes.
8. Visit the University of Nairobi Office of Career Services website for more information on securing jobs and internships: http://careerservices.uonbi.ac.ke/
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