Hacks to the “Off-Campus” Internship

Amidst the internship hustle last year, I had noticed that there are a bunch of hacks that could be used to convince anyone to let you work with them. As I think more and more about it, these things seem quite logical and obvious; but they are heavily underutilized so I guess it anyhow makes a sense to initiate a discussion.

Here we go~

  1. Seek help, send out cold messages/ mails, lots of them. If you are seeking internships in an area you don’t have a lot of experience in, just connect with people working with the teams you’d like to work in. Ask them what you could do in the next 3–4 months to be able to add value to their team. I know it sounds like a long shot, but you’d be surprised by how many people will get back to you (for me, one of the data scientists even gave a 40 hour plan to learn everything I needed to be good to go!). Professionals think binary (Y/N) if you express interest in working with them. However, everyone loves to give gyaan (especially to somebody who is in a position they were once in) and hence there’s a higher chance they’d mentor you about how to proceed. Not only this opens a very constructive conversation with someone who can single-handedly get you the role, but also gives you a road map of how to proceed to acquire the skill akin with industry standards; along with an opportunity to prove yourself.
  2. Follow up, preferably with updates. This is the single most important thing while sending out cold mails. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a reply right on your first mail, expect sending 3–4 follow up mails/ messages before the other person pays any attention to you. The catch here is that there are brownie points for following up with an update. For instance a message that says, “Hey! Any chance you were able to go through the mail? And by the way, I just built this cool thing available on this link and it won a hackathon!” is far more likely to get attention than your staple, “Awaiting response”. Remember?! Kind folks have already been telling what to do to better your chance of getting through. Make some progress and let the other gentleman know you’re learning constantly. P.S.- You might like to maintain an excel sheet of all the follow ups and when is the next follow up due.

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