The world of internships in our university campuses is by no means small. Internships are now playing an important role in defining opportunities for students after graduation. Companies place an immense amount of importance on internships as they increase the student’s adaptability to the corporate environment and reflect a certain degree of professional expertise in an area. Internships have now become the most important part of each student’s CV.
With this race to stay ahead of the cut-throat competition, objectives of internship seekers have seen a shift from seeking quantitative benefits rather than qualitative. The number of internships matters more to students than the quality of learning gained out of the experience. Students simply grab any opportunity that it offered without properly vetting the company and work profile. And companies are not far behind in exploiting these misguided objectives to pass off meagre work through unpaid internships. Many companies have mastered the art of packaging meaningless internships to make them seem valuable by labelling them as ‘Content Internships’, ‘Digital Marketing Internships’ or ‘Business Development/Sales’. A quick search on websites like Internshaala will confirm this.
However, using a fancy term for unpaid labour does not change the grim reality. Mostly, the ‘interns’ are seen as cheap (or often free) source of manpower. The interns are used for menial tasks such as data entry, telecalls or social media spamming, where there is no real learning or value addition for the interns. The companies refrain from involving interns into any core activities and deny the interns an opportunity to really develop and grow. Rather than properly utilising the intern’s ideas and capabilities by providing them with an independent platform, various companies simply expect interns to fit into a structure and follow rules to accomplish menial tasks. To make it worse, many companies do not issue or delay issuing of the certificates.
That being said, various companies also do provide internship opportunities where one can truly learn and grow. These companies usually have set internship programs which run for a specific time each year. If your internship allows you to get hands-on experience in the type of career you want to pursue and also contribute towards the growth of any established company or start-up, then the opportunity might just be worth it. Finding the right platform that provides you valuable experience, improves your employability and helps you expand your network is what you should be aiming for.
So it is important for students to do their due diligence with multi sources like their seniors, faculty, online friends and family about the company and profile before they take the plunge. Easier said than done, given it is actually a catch 22 situation. With tight job markets, any extra addition to bolstering the resume is definitely a temptation.
And once you get an internship offer, ensure that you make the best use of it.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of University Express.)