If you decide to try yourself out as an intern in abroad, like I did, then let me share with you my story and let me give you some useful tips for getting a job and for making the most out of your internship.
Last year, after graduating from Corvinus University of Budapest I decided to work in Berlin. I didn’t waste much time, I searched for a job before I went to the, for me unknown, German city. I was really lucky: I found an internship in a few weeks in a startup company, who decided to expand their activity to Hungary and start their international site, ShopAlike.hu, in Hungarian as well. After I finished my internship, the company offered me a permanent position, as a result I decided to stay in Berlin on the long term. Many people would have say that “in the right place at the right time”, but the truth is, if you want a really good internship, then you have make it happen. Here are five advices, which helped me:
If you decided, that you want to do an internship abroad, then at first you have to get information. The situation of the labour market is different not only in every state, but as well in every city. As a result, before your departure it’s worth to read the statistics and check some job portal.
Searching for a job, even if it is an internship for now, is a time and energy-consuming process. Don’t wait for headhunters to reply for your “I’m looking for a job” message to your Linkedin account immediately. You have to make time for looking through the job portals and collecting the most interesting job opportunities in a folder. It is as well useful to make an Excel file, where you can follow your applications.
It’s worth to define what topics you are interested in and look for jobs inside those areas. It‘s natural if in the beginning of your career, you don’t have an exact picture, what you want to do (that’s why internships are useful), however it doesn’t hurt if you look for an internship in the area where you can imagine your future job. It’s also important to apply for realistic positions: if in the advertisement they are looking for a professional, then it’s better not to waste energy and time for that application – but you shouldn’t underestimate yourself either!
Make time for the applications!
Now that I’m on the other side of the table and I have read many applications I’d like to share with you some advices. A complete application is worth a lot. Use that your competitors are also inexperienced and make yourself stand out from the crowd with a really great application! What does that mean exactly? For example, your application should fit the expectations: if they asked for sending it in English, then send it in English and not in another language and if they ask you to attach the copy of your diploma, then do it. Usually the companies don’t ask for a motivation letter, however I advise you to write one, and every time a unique one! The motivation letter is a perfect opportunity to stand out from the crowd and to show them why you would be their best choice. It gives a good impression, if you explain why you chose that exact company, what made you interested in them and why you like the position. Be enthusiastic and show interest! Two more extra tips: you can call the HR department one week after your application. It makes a good impression and as well you get a feedback. The second one is to attach your CV every time in a PDF format.
Don’t give up!
The process of finding a job is never easy: the future is unpredictable, the success rate is low and it’s hard even from a financial point of view. But never give up! Use your free time wisely, enroll to a language course, live to your hobbies and engage yourself in activities, which make up for your loss success. Who knows, maybe your new hobby will help you in finding a new job!
If you found your dream internship and you moved abroad, then I advise you the followings to make the most out of it:
You should get ready before your first day at work by doing the following: check the website of the company and try to get to know as much as possible about their projects and services (if you didn’t do that before your job interview) and give yourself a day for rest. It’s useful to move to the city at least 2 or 3 weeks before you start your job, since during that time you can arrange all the administrative procedures and as well practice the language. An extra tip: if you have time, enroll to a one-month, intensive language course in order to be able to use the language more confidently and to make some new friends.
This part is necessary if you move abroad! Be open to a new culture, get to know more about the city and the country, you moved in and show interest towards your new colleagues! In the company, where I’m working, at least 20 different nationalities work together with unique lives and stories, from which I learned a lot. From the lunches and after work meetings you can get really great friendships!
Note as much as possible in your first weeks, do your tasks effective and show that you’re a great employee! Ask if you don’t know something and share your new ideas. If you work well, you might get a permanent position after your internship, however even one good recommendation letter can help you to get another job.
An internship abroad doesn’t give you only personal experience, but as well a professional one. If you find a field during your work, which really interests you, then get more knowledge about that area. If you have an opportunity, ask for extra training in your workplace or look around in your city, you might find a training after work – this wouldn’t only make your CV look better, but as well helps you to find a topic for your final thesis!
Don’t forget about your hobbies!
Probably your new activities will take all of your free time in the first weeks, but when everything is in order, start to discover the opportunities in your new city. If you have done some sports before moving there, then search for sport communities, but being a volunteer is also a great way of getting to know new people.
Whatever you do, try to make the most out of your internship abroad! Don’t forget: if it doesn’t turn around the way, you planned, you can have great memories and experiences. Be brave to do it! I wish you success and great time!
Translated by Ágnes Fülep based on the article of Klaudia Korpa