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How to Search for Internships or Graduate Programmes - Advise for Students

This goes out to all Tertiary students (TVET, Technicon and Universities):

- When you are still a student and closer to finishing (6 months away), go to your department’s secretary and ask for the list of companies that the school deals with.

- Visit or call those companies that are in town or close by before sending them your things (Transport is still free or cheap for you, trust you me it won't be like that after 6 months)

- When you call/visit, ask for HR or speak directly to whoever answers, once you load them with your questions they will direct you to the right person.

- Don't jump into saying 'I need a job', NO!

'I am a student at... doing my last year, my department gave me your contacts since you do take students from my school, I just want to know about your next intake, when should we start sending through our documents? How many students do you usually require? Does your other branches report to you as well, I would not mind to work far if the opportunity is there or do i need to contact them in order to find out if they have opportunities that side? When selecting your candidates do you look into how I was passing at school or do you have other criteria? I can send you my current transcript so you can tell me if i do qualify to work in your company but I am quite sure i would be a good addition if given a chance.'

SOME OF THEM ARE NOT FRIENDLY, don't take it personal just go to the next one.

- Google for good CV templates and edit them, or ask one of your friends who already has an internship how their CV looks or how did they apply.

'If your school did not bless you with the list, then visit the companies where your friends are working or companies that have previously employed people with your qualifications and still apply the same method of enquiring and never say 'i need a job'. Ask them a set of questions, this exercise is meant to gather information and confidence.'


Here is a set of questions that you must ask when you visit or call the companies

DO NOT ASK FOR A JOB but collect information, here are a some typical questions that you can ask:

1. Do they have programmes for people in your field?

2. When will they be advertised?

3. Where will they be advertised?

4. What are the requirements?

5. Who to talk to when the time comes?

6. Does academic your performance play a role in their selection process? Show them yours and ask if you are eligible to apply.

7. Does the address on your CV affect anything?

8. What to include when applying?

Remember this is about collecting information and staying upto date and informed.

If the Receptionist does not want to direct you to HR, then ask them the questions that brought you there, they are likely to direct you to the right people when they realise that you are not a stranded job seeker.

So here is what to say:

"There are some questions that I have about your company concerning your recruitment process for students and graduates. I want to know how to apply, what are the requirements, who to talk to when the time comes, which documents to include in my application, do you guys have another branch, is your branch responsible for the recruitment process for all your other branches or I will need to visit them as well."

NB: Do not ask for a job, you are there for information.


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