Internships are usually only available in summer

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An internship is essential today. But how do you find an internship, what needs to be considered when applying and what are the advantages of an internship?

Over 200,000 students do an internship in Germany every semester, and for good reason. As at no later point in life, the time during your studies offers the opportunity to try out yourself, to learn to assess your own abilities and to break new ground. Interns can experience exactly this and find answers to questions such as: Where do I want to work later? In a large company or would you prefer a family business? In a traditional company or a young start-up? Do I like to take on responsibility or do I prefer to do tasks that have been brought up to me?

Why do an internship?

Above all, if you have no idea where your professional journey should go, internships serve as a professional orientation. That is why it makes sense to do a longer internship. During a long internship, interns can be trained in more interesting activities and more complex projects with responsibility. A duration of six months is ideal, but at least three.

Anyone with a wide range of interests can often find it difficult to decide what they really want. To get on the track, you can look for an internship where you have the opportunity to get an insight into different departments. Or they do several internships at different companies. This makes it easier to find out which topics interest you most.

How do I finance the internship?

If there is a long internship, many worry in advance about how to finance it. Especially students who have to earn their own living have problems combining study, job and internship. A possible solution would be a part-time internship. It would take longer than a full-time internship, but your presence in the company can be limited to a few days a week. The remaining days can then be used for the job and study.

Students who receive training grants (BAföG) can usually only do their voluntary internships during the lecture-free period. Otherwise there is a risk that the studies will be delayed and the maximum funding period will be exceeded. You do not need to worry about financing, because BAföG is also paid during the internship. The prerequisite is that the internship is related to your studies. However, the entire salary from a compulsory internship is counted as income, which is why the monthly BAföG benefits are reduced during the internship.

Recognition at the university

Far too much thought is often given to recognition at the university. The vast majority of internships are recognized by the university without any problems. If there are still problems, the companies often help. In most cases, a call to the university is enough to answer all open questions and get the recognition through.

Internship or part-time job?

Many students ask themselves: What is better assessed on a CV: internship or part-time student job? If a student was unable to get a student job while studying, internships are a way to make up for that lack of work experience.

It is best to take the opportunity to work alongside your studies as well as to do voluntary internships. First professional experience during your studies gives you a head start, especially when you start your career, which is not so easy to catch up after graduation.

Find an internship

The first point of contact to find an internship is usually an internship exchange. Unfortunately, such an exchange only helps if you already know what kind of internship you are looking for. But how do I find the internship that suits me? First of all you have to know:

What do I expect from the internship?

In order to recognize what the right internship position is for you personally, it is important to find some answers for yourself. What are my expectations for the internship? Is it mainly about finding out whether the professional field suits me? Perhaps your career aspirations are already clear and you want to expand your own knowledge. Do I want to gain a foothold in a certain company or am I only interested in the industry?

There are also the general conditions: Do I prefer to work at my desk or in the workshop? Do I like to have customer contact? Do I need a permanent office or do I prefer to travel?

Next step: find the right company

As a prospective intern you ask yourself the question: How do I find out which company suits me best? Of course, you can read a lot about the companies on the Internet and get a first impression. But it is best to get to know the company in personal discussions with company representatives. A company contact fair offers the ideal opportunity for this.

At the Connecticum fair, which has been taking place in Berlin for over 10 years, IT students and prospective engineers and business economists can get to know representatives from the human resources and specialist departments of renowned companies. An appointment can often be made in advance for particularly intensive discussions. Perhaps you will find the right contact person for your application this way.

For many students, it is important where the internship takes place. Internships in large cities such as Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg or Berlin are particularly popular. But there are also good companies in smaller cities in Germany where interns can gain exciting experience.

Only compulsory internship desired

For students who want to do a voluntary internship, it is worth asking the company for whom the positions are being offered. Some companies are only looking for interns who complete a compulsory internship, as these are exempt from social security for the company.

There are not only differences between the various internships, different rules apply to all interns than to normal employees. Friedrich Schade deals in detail with the area of ​​internship law in his book Internship Law.

Go abroad - or would you prefer to stay in Germany?

Students in engineering, IT, business administration and other subjects often consider doing their internship abroad. Although internship exchanges offer the opportunity to look for internships in another country and they are also very popular, an internship abroad often does not meet the expectations of the interns.

Above all, the international experience is often neglected, but it is the most common reason why students want to do their internship in another country. You want to make contact with locals, improve your language skills and get to know the country. However, there is often little time for this during an internship. During the day, as an intern, you are busy at work and in the evening you are often too exhausted to take part in social life.

It is also difficult to get an internship abroad. Because the HR departments of German companies are rarely interested in deploying interns outside of Germany. Even if they also have locations in other countries.

All in all, a semester abroad is the better choice if you want to gain experience abroad during your studies. The probability of getting to know the country and its people is much higher. Above all, however, a semester abroad can be organized much more freely. If you still want to do an internship abroad, you might find it at the DAAD.

Apply for an internship

Especially for companies based in large cities such as Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt or Berlin, more students usually apply than there are internship positions. So what belongs in a good internship application so that it doesn't disappear in the filing after the first look?

The application: Long is not always better

In general, the shorter the application, the more pleasant it is for the HR manager. Because he may get hundreds of letters of application a week. Unnecessary pages like the cover sheet only get in the way.

In the case of a short application, the most important thing is the expressiveness and the form. Spelling mistakes or careless formulations and empty phrases can destroy an otherwise good overall impression. If you are unsure, you can have your cover letter proofread. This is where the application portfolio check at Connecticum comes in, where company representatives give visitors direct feedback on their application documents.

Bring personality to the fore in the cover letter

Especially when applying for their first internship, prospective engineers, business economists and IT students have little or no professional experience. In such cases, the cover letter can be used to introduce yourself to the company: What are my interests or hobbies? Above all, why do I want to do an internship at this company? Why am I interested in this internship?

All of this often says more about the applicant than a list of soft skills that the HR manager often cannot understand at all. Because how should a young student of business administration, IT or engineering know which social strengths distinguish him in professional life if he has not yet worked.

The content

When it comes to applying for an internship, the question of salary quickly arises. How much should it be and is it negotiable?

It is difficult to say about the level of fair pay because it is influenced by many different factors. In general, interns who already have work experience get more than those without. Ultimately, every prospective intern has to decide for himself whether he or she finds the remuneration appropriate. In any case, an internship should be paid for.

The application for an internship differs from other applications in one important point: Your own salary expectations do not belong in the application letter.

Professional experience is valuable for the application

If you have professional experience, even if it is "only" the student job as a waiter, it is best to write this on your résumé. Even at first glance, jobs that are alien to their species can say a lot about the qualities of the applicant. Because in addition to the demands that every activity places on the employee, a job alongside the studies shows that the applicant has achieved something beyond the studies. That is always an indication of organizational talent and resilience.

What does the résumé look like in a cover letter?

The tabular curriculum vitae customary in Germany is a maximum of one page long. If it gets longer when you first write it, there are probably points listed that are unimportant and can be shortened. When writing, it is best to keep in mind that the résumé is the first service you provide to the company.

The application photo should be at the top of the résumé. That is why it is particularly important to take care of a professional application photo. Because even when applying for an internship, the first impression counts.

Do references go with a complete internship application?

If it is not required in the advertisement and one does not expect any particular advantage from the Abitur certificate, school certificates do not need to be sent. If they are not required by the company, they are usually ignored anyway. The same applies to job or internship references.

The situation is different with the information about the current student status. A certificate of enrollment should be included in every application letter for an internship, just like all other documents required by the company. That is why it makes sense to check again carefully whether all documents and information mentioned in the tender are available. They can vary from tender to tender.

Are speculative applications for an internship worthwhile?

Experience has shown that speculative applications for internships do not make sense. Only companies that publish offers for internships are prepared for interns and can take good care of them.

However, there is often no fixed application deadline. It is best to send the application three months before the start of the internship. Many companies are flexible when it comes to the start date of the internship, so several suggestions for starting the internship can be made in the cover letter. Of course, you shouldn't forget to state the maximum possible duration of the internship.

The internship report

The internship is over and an exciting time is over. Now it's time to rework. If it was a compulsory internship, most universities require an internship report. All important findings of the internship are compiled in it.

What are the requirements for a full internship report?

The cover sheet is important. On it is not only the name of the company and the period in which the internship was completed, but also the name of the university and the institute. Of course, the name of the student should not be missing either.

The actual internship report follows the cover sheet. In it, the expectations of the internship are formulated, the activities are described and finally a conclusion is drawn. Have the expectations been met? It is best to continuously collect bullet points on the experiences and impressions made during the internship. Especially if the internship lasted longer or the departments have been changed, this makes it much easier to create a well-founded internship report at the end.

Many universities provide information about the structure of the internship report before the internship begins. Often it also regulates formalities such as margins, line spacing and scope.

What is the internship certificate and when do I get it?

Every student receives the internship certificate from the employer at the end of their internship. If the company doesn't think about it on its own, you don't need to be afraid to ask for a qualified internship certificate yourself. Because the certificate serves as a reference for later applications and gives potential employers an impression of the applicant.

The content of the internship certificate includes the duration of the internship, a description of the job and the assessment of the skills learned, the work behavior and social skills. When describing the intern's activities and assessing performance, there are certain formalities that must be observed.

In general: the bigger the superlatives, the more satisfied the company was with the intern.