With thousands of people graduating from universities, colleges, and other educational institutions, without solid work experience, you may find yourself in an emergency situation – no one wants to hire you without experience, but how do you get the experience if no one wants to hire? you?
Working as an intern will often give you the great advantage of experiencing the real world and being able to include it on your CV. Our company has been offering international internships in Melbourne, Australia for the past 2 years and since then we have hosted interns from Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, China, France, Lebanon and Poland. It’s a great way to learn about the next generation of professional linguists and contribute to the translation and interpreting industry by letting in new blood.
I receive dozens of new applications per month and including people in our well structured internship program has become a privilege. We give people real work, with real clients, but of course we hold hands long before we allow our interns to spread their wings. Most interns begin by assisting our Multimedia Project Officer or Business Development Coordinator in managing projects, verifying translations, gathering databases, or answering the phone. We take our interns to court to observe our interpreters at work, we also have them review previous translations, cross-check glossaries, and format translations. In other words, our interns become familiar with how a translation office works, a unique opportunity!
Given the advantages and interest our internship program attracts, I thought I would share with you some pros and cons of how to apply for an internship. I have seen some shocking applications in my time and while I always respond to inquiries from prospective interns, it would be very difficult for me to convince myself to accept them. We are one of the few companies in Australia that takes internship applications seriously, but sometimes I doubt interns will take us seriously.
So here are the tips:
1. Email the translation company to find out who is in charge of the recruitment. Emailing your request to the general email will rarely be received with interest as it is usually reviewed by a non-decision maker or a person who simply cannot be disturbed.
2. Check the spelling and grammar of your email and don’t forget to attach your CV. Never use the SMS abbreviation to write emails. It seems very unprofessional.
3. Do some research on the company in question so your email doesn’t sound generic or disinterested. Explain in your email why you would like to become an intern for them.
4. Prepare for the internship to be unpaid: After all, the company will spend a lot of money on training and supporting you, and in the end you will get a referral. So make sure you can afford to be an intern for several months, especially if you are going to be based in another country or even another continent.
5. Check the company. Ask about working conditions, location, insurance and working hours. See if you can get in touch with past interns who could tell you more not only about the company, but also about local attractions, accommodations, and customs.
6. Follow up with a phone call and schedule a phone interview. It is important that you clarify any issues of concern before committing to the internship. Ask the company about the internship program – they should be able to send you a questionnaire or job plan via email, to help make sure you’re making the right decision.
7. Check to see if your training institution will support the internship and, if so, how they will contact your employer. Do you have specific requirements?
8. Follow up with an email thanking the company for their time and stay in touch regularly. Ask about a job statement, internship plan, or job description. Who will you report to? How often? What happens in case of problems?
Good luck with your internships and don’t forget to contact me if you have any questions!