Archive for About Internship-International

Team Building

Team building is a technique used by companies in which the team work has a great relevance for the success. It aims to create a group between the people who work for the same project or tasks, and to develop partnership and communication, cohesion and sharing objectives. It can build a harmonious, efficient and productive work group.

According to Arnold Bateman of the University of Nebraska “Team building is an effort in which a team studies its own process of working together and acts to create a climate that encourages and values the contributions of team members. Their energies are directed toward problem solving, task effectiveness, and maximizing the use of all members’ resources to achieve the team’s purpose. Sound team building recognizes that it is not possible to fully separate one’s performance from those of others.” (1990, Team Building: Developing a Productive Team ).
In a company, the team building is used to reach the best performance as possible.

Team building can be categorized or as developmental if it works on weakness or particular needs well identified, such as workshops and professional team-building exercises with specific goals and issues, or as fun, to enjoy the group and create a group identity with, for example, sport and theatrical activities, camping trips or sailing boat. Some examples of team building can be: survival scenario (your plane has crushed in the ocean near a desert island, and there are 12 items you need to survive: which items you want to take and how you rank each item); ice breaking: each team’s member has to write in a piece of paper two real episodes of his life and one not true, and the others has to guess which is the lie; cooking class; rugby; a day in a farm and urban safari, a kind of treasure hunt in the city.

With these activities and games the team can define the roles, analyse the problems and find the solution through problem solving, manage the group’s communication, active listening, feedback and brainstorming. These elements could be examine patiently afterwards in the office.

Whether or not the type of activity, the purpose is making the group a real team, increasing the trust to the colleagues, releasing the creativity, developing a relaxed climate for communication and knowing each other.
Team building can work best if there is a high level of interdependence between members, if the leader has positive people skills, if the members are clear about goals and their roles in the team, if everyone wants to contribute and is prepared to take risks, and if the team has capacity to create new ideas, to examine the errors and weaknesses and to learn from the experience.

The simplest examples to understand the team building, and what it could reach, are represented by team sport activities: they are a perfect metaphor for the company life. As in the sport, in the business world there is competition, competence, faith in the team, loyalty to rivals, strategy and tactic plan. If you want to play, you have to respect the company and management’s rules: you should know them as well as possible to reach the team’s objectives.

If you play as a team, you will win as a team.

Better intern with a small or a large company?

When you come to the decision to do an internship, you have several possibilities. But one of the most important questions is whether you will be going to a small or a large company. Let us have a look at the pros and cons of the size of a company.

The first thing to say is that large companies are large for a reason. They were built up a long time ago, have a central position on the market and represent success, not only because of their size of enterprise. But often there is an established way of doing things, too. So on the one hand you cannot work freely or creatively. You have to be a cogwheel in the huge machine and must operate. But on the other hand this is what gives you a feeling of stability. Feeling safe and stable can be a form of motivation, too.
Speaking of motivation, when you did an internship in a large company it is nice to write on your CV. Some companies think that practical experience is more important than your marks. That is why they first look at your CV and not at your certificate.
Another advantage of a big company is that if you are not sure in which department you are interested, you can have a look at different departments of the company. Mostly the companies have experience with interns. Then they will offer a special schedule for interns. Nevertheless, it can happen that you end up making coffee and copying documents because nobody feels really responsible for you.

And here is the difference between an internship in a small and a large company. It is nearly impossible to learn nothing in a small company.
In a little company you will get to know the people more easily or at least get to know every employee, which is impossible in a company with hundreds or thousands of people. It is a completely different spirit to work for a company where everybody knows each other and calls you a friend. You will feel like having a second family, which you can ask for advice.
Moreover, the company can extend after you left them, especially when it is a start-up company. Then you killed two birds with one stone. You have the name of the company on your CV and learned a lot.

But you have to remember that there is no right or wrong answer to this question and it will widely depend on what you hope to accomplish and what your preferred way of working is.

How to stay positive in a complex situation

Complex situations can occur anywhere, at any time : making a significant mistake at work, or wandering astray in a country abroad, the most important thing to learn is how to manage to get out of such a situation. For example, if you are doing your internship in New Romney, you may take the wrong bus, and arrive in another town. Here are five tips to keeping your self-control when things go wrong.

Keep your head on straight
It does not matter how bad the situation is, solutions can always be found if only you stay calm. Unexpected stress, even if sometimes a normal and common feeling, confuses your mind and your actions. Take a breath, and convince yourself that everything will be all right.

Be self-confident
To handle stress, you have to believe in your own ability. Troubles are likely to arise at any moment – life is not a bed of roses – so always be aware of this, allowing yourself to quickly find a solution to any problems that do pop up. A lack of self-confidence can be self-destructive, and so can aggravate an already bad situation. Try to reflect quickly, but also smartly on the solutions you can employ.

Learn to ask for help
For example, you realise after a long time has already passed that you are on the wrong bus for going to the office. What are the possible solutions ?
1- Tell the driver where you want to go, and explain your mistake to him.
2- Ask a benevolent passenger for assistance and advice, and get off the bus at the next bus stop.
3- Call your supervisor in the office who will be able to help you in the best way possible.
Asking for help is not a weakness, on the contrary it is proof of your capability to recognise your own limits. And do not forget to stay cool during your interactions with people.

Learn from your mistakes
Blaming yourself is useless. Just try to convince yourself to be more concentrated the next time and try to avoid other errors. As everyone knows, life is full of risks and uncertainties, which make us make wrong choices sometimes. Stepping back from these wrong choices or mistakes helps you to grow and mature. When you stay focused on the same trouble, you block your potential for growth. Turning into your own tormentor is the wrong attitude to have.

Is it really a complex situation?
We must try to put things into perspective, and stop thinking that every situation is complex, abnormal, or tricky. It is just a new event within your life, and you will treat this one like you used to treat the others. Every practical problem has solutions; or rather there are no problems, just solutions. The only issue is how you choose to get out of inappropriate situations, and not the fact that you have been in the unwelcome situation in the first place. The best way to do this is to look to the future, and take advantage of a future wellness; tell yourself that the present situation is only temporary and that things will return to their equilibrium soon.

Conclusion

In the development and natural selection of different species, those that adapted best to deal with stress have survived and evolved. This is the best reason not to let yourself collapse under the weight of stress induced by a complex situation, and to try to surpass this feeling. Stay cool !

The main mistakes to avoid in your cover letter

When you are applying for a job or an internship, your CV and cover letter are really important. It is likely that the recruiters receive fifty applications per day, so in order to be selected for a position in the company, take your time in writing your CV and your cover letter.

Here are the main mistakes that you should avoid in a cover letter :

THE PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING
Often, when you are writing your cover letter, you forget to take care with its presentation, which is very important because this is the first thing that your recruiter will see and it has to be clear and must catch the attention and spark the interest of the recruiter who will then read your cover letter.

DO NOT JUST TALK ABOUT YOURSELF
Of course, the cover letter is as an opportunity to describe your profile to the employers, to present yourself to them and to show your motivations, but do not just talk about you. Indeed, if you talk about the company, the recruiter will see that you are very interested in the position and also that you are curious to know about them in return. So it is recommended that you write about the reasons for applying and why you want to work with them.

PAY ATTNETION TO YOUR SPELLING
Whether it is a mistake of conjugation, spelling, grammar, or a lack of attentiveness when you were writing (typos), they are all fatal errors for your application. So take your time to write your letter, be careful with the mistakes and if you are not sure about a word, how to spell it for example, do not hesitate to ask someone for help, or check on a dictionary which is safer.

AVOID WRITING TOO MUCH
A good cover letter does not exceed one page in length. With such a large number of applications, recruiters cannot read all of them. If it is too long, they will not read it at all! Try to have no more than three or four paragraphs, and make sure that your letter is clear, brief, simple and precise.

DO NOT HAVE ONE MODEL OF COVER LETTER FOR ALL YOUR APPLICATIONS
Everyone knows that it is easier to have one model of cover letter for every application. But let us be honest, it is better to search and put the name of the company that you want and put it in the recipient space. If you are doing just one type of cover letter for every applications, you will definitely not receive a lot of responses. Recruiters will see you as someone who is lazy and not really motivated. Take your time to search for every piece of relevant information about the company where you want to work, talk about why you like this company in particular, and what you think about them. This may not require much effort on your behalf but it will for sure catch the attention of the recruiters.

Finally, just be yourself. Do not lie to get a job, it is unprofessional, will get you nowhere, and is very bad if the employer realizes. Be confident about what you really are and keep smiling at all times.

An outstanding internship report

If you have been accepted into the Erasmus Placement program, at the end of your internship you will have to provide your university with a report of your experiences in order to receive school credits. This report has to include three components: the outline and basic information of the company in which you did your internship, the summary of the work done, the specific aspects of the internship term that are relevant to your field and a critical analysis of the problems experienced. Importantly, the report must be concise and well-written.

First of all, in the description of the company it is important to give information about the mission, goals, industry and headquarters’ location, while other useful details could include the number of states and countries where the company is active, the number of employees and the annual sales.
In the description of your work duties, outline your specific responsibilities and activities and explain what the projects in which you were involved consisted of and the academic background requested. You should also give a detailed account of the specific technical functions of your position, pointing out the key data, equations or software that you generated or used and the names and functions of the machinery or instruments operated, analysing the application of the data of your particular project. The third part of your report consists of an explanation of the contributions that your work experience made to your career development, goals and growth and to your selection of future coursework. Among the courses you completed, assess the most or the least applicable to your internship, underline the distinctions between your education and work experience and evaluate the use that the internship made of your technical training background, pointing out your level of personal satisfaction and whether or not you would recommend this experience to others. In the last paragraph of the main body, outline the main obstacles you faced: you may find yourself dealing with challenges that you do not feel able to handle, or working in an environment which does not live up to your expectations. In any case, you should be able to stress how you maintained your professionalism, always working to find ways that are mutually beneficial to both you and the employer, that will help you solve the problems you are facing. As far as the style is concerned, favour short paragraphs over long ones and build them around topic sentences and keep yourself focused. Employ transition words at the beginning of pivotal sentences and paragraphs, in order to guide the reader’s thinking, and rely on active voice, rather than passive, especially when you describe your accomplishments. Moreover, take advantage of the most powerful punctuation marks to present material efficiently and use an honest and sincere tone, especially in the conclusion, when you assess the value of the internship to you personally. Last but not least, add an appendix: it allows you to include samples of written works, letters of evaluation and other documents. Only material directly referred to in other sections of the report should be included: therefore, you should be selective, including your most pertinent and best works.
By reading your report, your university representative has to be able to fully understand your achievements during the internship: be thorough and provide a complete account in order to have your apprenticeship recognised as soon as you finish it. It is advisable to start preparing your report during the first month, taking notes of your tasks day by day, to have a scheme to follow and to write it quickly. Depending on the number of credits you need, the length of the report has to be between three and twenty pages and it has to emphasize new or unique experiences, particularly concerning the objectives of the internship. Besides, it gives you the opportunity to write your reflections on the program and express the most meaningful aspects once the experience is completed.

How to find an internship in a company?

Whether you’re a student or not, it is likely that you have at some point found yourself in a situation where you need or want to find an internship in order to validate your year of study or acquire additional professional experience. But finding an internship is not easy in all situations. Below are the different ways in which to find a placement either abroad or in your country.

There are different ways to search for internships and some work better than others, but which are the best ? And why?

Before thinking about applying for an internship in a company, it is necessary that all your documents are ready, that is to say your CV and your cover letter. Once these documents are prepared you can begin your internship search. But how where to begin?

There are many different ways to apply for an internship. We’ll start with the most common way: on line. Indeed, on the internet you can write what you want into a search engine and will be presented with links where training scheme offers are posted every day. Generally there is a description of the offer and then you have to apply and upload your CV and your cover letter. This is called an application for an offer. Alternatively, there is the option of making a so-called spontaneous application, which involve sending mail directly to the company to explain that you are looking for an internship in this field – don’t forget to attach your CV and cover letter to this email. Applying via the internet is apparently not the best solution because it is often said that your email will be one of many that the company receive and therefore has a good chance of not being read and being sent directly to the trash bin. But never say never!

Then there is also the method of making a direct phone call to the company. This call can follow an email but it can also be the first step of the process of applying. This is a good method because you are in direct contact with the person and are able to react on the spot and receive a live response, and it can also show that you are motivated.

The door to door method involves going into the business without having contacted it beforehand, though it is less common because it is unlikely to work. You can give your CV and cover letter on the spot. Maybe this will lead to an interview…

Then, there is one last method: using your contacts. If you know someone who works in a company they may be able to help you find your internship. To be helped by someone present in the business is also called “string pulling”..

So, listed above are the different ways of finding an internship. Whether it is by internet, responding to an ad, by email, by phone, through an acquaintance or door to door, you have many chances of getting an interview as long as you have your cover letter, your ambition, and your CV in hand.

Boredom at work: how to fight?

An increasing inactivity in your work results in many observable symptoms: coffee breaks getting longer and are more frequent, your personal calls are multiplying, and you consult your personal mail twenty times a day… Each of these is a sign of your boredom of days at the office. The problem is that inactivity can cause a particular illness in its victims and can be especially dangerous when the boredom leads to exhaustion. In this case, it is not the stress that is causing the discomfort but the lack of challenge. Therefore I will give you some ideas for rediscovering your interest in and desire to work.

Before knowing how to fight this boredom, you must first analyse the situation. Browsing a few minutes per day on the internet or chatting with colleagues over coffee does not necessarily mean that the daily work is boring. There really is a big problem though when your private tasks take on an important part and take up a sizeable chunk of your working time. Of course, tell your colleagues if you are drowning under the weight of your work, But if you’re feel tired in the evening when your day has been completely calm then something is really not quite right. The only thing to do is to ask yourself about the interest you have in your work activity because a profound boredom coupled with a loss of interest can be dramatic.

The problem may come from an under-exploitation of your capacities by your employer. We know that we can do more and do better, but the concern is that we are confined to simple tasks in which we lack real interest. However, for people who are eaten up by boredom, it is always difficult to ask for more work, they must first “work hard” for that privilege. You must go to see your manager, who is not necessarily aware of your situation. In signalling your availability, you show you value efficiency and demonstrate your taste for work. When we do not grasp the meaning or the purpose of our daily work, motivation can be reduced. To restore some value to work, you must establish a dialogue with the manager to find out how your role fits into the functioning of the society. Your supervisor should be able to point out the elements of your work that make your function essential to a more ambitious project.

Another cause of boredom at work may be due to the lack of challenges. Without concrete goals or challenges, it is easy to lose all active involvement in your work. You must find challenges that fit your ambitions. Therefore you have to take the initiative: take on the the objectives that you have set yourself and find new missions which will allow you to practise your talents

One thing to remember, blossoming at work is not just a matter of increasing the mass of work done in a day. Indeed, use your free time to build relationships with your colleagues, for example whilst stood around the coffee machine. Avoid withdrawal, because that is what makes you feel bad at work.
Boredom at the office often comes from the environment in which we operate. A manager who can not delegate, a colleague who appropriates all the interesting tasks. If you can not change your environment, try to quit it. Be on the lookout for internal promotions and vacancies in other services.

Desperate times means desperate measures. This is the radical solution to give meaning to your life. Changing job may however be necessary for those who have gone astray on their professional path or that experience a great weariness in their job. It is a long process, so you better be sure of your choice.

How to handle the 5 most common internship troubles

Summer has began and you are ready for your internship. Fully motivated you enter the lobby of the company you will work for during your holidays. But after a few days you recognise that your job differs very strongly from your expectations. No reason to become desperate. Here you will find solutions for the 5 most common issues during internships.

  1. Your internship is not what you expected
    You thought you would get more interesting tasks? The room where you live is tight and smelly? You have to work for 12 hours per day? Your whole traineeship is simply not like you wanted it to be.
    The best way to avoid this horrible circumstances is to clarify your working conditions in details beforehand. If you have missed that you can still communicate with your supervisor. But ensure that you speak with him or her in a positive way. Show that you are interested in the success of the company and that you are willing to learn. Normally your supervisor wants you to have good experiences during your internship. If you clearly communicate your needs and expectations they will most likely help you to improve the situation.
  2. You are in conflict with your supervisor
    Sometimes it seems that your supervisor does not like you, because he or she always has a different opinion than you and nothing you do seems right. In this case it is very important to keep in mind that having different views is nothing unusual. Handling with conflicting minds is a good experience for you and you can learn a lot from it for your future. Try to show empathy and relocate yourself in the situation with your supervisor. When you see both circumstances it is more easy to find a compromise.
  3. Boredom
    You feel unchallenged and are ready with all your tasks before lunch? Now this situation is really not very difficult to handle. Just ask your colleague if he or she has a project for you or if you can help them with anything. If they don’t have anything to do for you, you could also ask your colleagues in other departments for work. And if really nobody has a job for you just use your time wisely. Read a book related to the field you are working in or search for more information in the internet. I am sure you will find something useful to do.
  4. You do not get enough directions
    Your supervisor gave you all your tasks for the day but nevertheless you do not know what to do because he did not explain it enough. Some people tend to think that asking all the time will annoy the supervisor but you should not be afraid to ask questions. They will understand that you are not a professional and simply do not have as much knowledge as they have yet. Nevertheless it is essential to pay attention to what is being explained – you could also take some notes – to avoid having to ask the same questions again and again. This is indeed annoying to your supervisor.
  5. You do not get enough feedback
    If you understand all your tasks, you have the optimal quantity of work to do but you do not get feedback – neither positive nor negative – it could be really demotivating. But also this problem can be solved very easily. Ask your supervisor how you could improve your work or if he or she liked your outcome. The best way to get feedback on a regular basis is to arrange a weekly meeting, in which you get feedback.

Internships may be the easiest way to finding a job

Finding a job in this tough economy is no easy feat, especially for college students and recent graduates. They often spend weeks searching for online job opportunities, writing cover letters and sending resumes. But what they really need to do is get an internship.

Nowadays, internships have become the new interview in the job search process for students and employers alike. Approximately 54% of recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed, so the best chance you have as a student is to do an internship. A lot of surveys show us that you have a 7 in 10 chance of being hired by the company you interned with.

Not only can job-seeking students and college graduates land full-time jobs through internships but they also get a chance to test-drive a career before committing. On top of this, employers get the opportunity to find the talent they need to help grow their business without just relying on a short interview. For that reason, entry level employees are the future of a company and so in many ways the most important recruiting decisions an employer can make.

Another remarkable thing is that employers nowadays hire virtual interns, and the most important factor of this is that students are open to the idea of completing a virtual internship. For those who do not know, a virtual internship is a work experience program where the intern gains experience while working in a distant professional environment and is not physically present at the job location. In this way virtual interns can communicate with their employer through Skype, SMS etc. One of the key reasons that we have seen large growth in virtual internships is the flexibility they give to students, particularly during school time. Most employers believe interview performance and relevant work experience are the most important factors in their decision to hire, more significant than strong academic performance because they want to make sure that the student will be a good fit for the job. Moreover, employers will look at what the student has been learning at school, relevant projects, course work and extracurricular activities. In a highly competitive job employers want to see that a candidate has the hunger to be successful more than purely in an academic setting.

Below I present to you a diagram that I found while surfing the internet and that I thought would be very useful. The question is, can internships lead to jobs? This is a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. From the results we can see that 63.1 percent of students that had a paid internship had received at least one job offer, but in contrast only 37 percent of former unpaid interns could say the same, according to the data. The main reason paid interns tend to get better offers is that they spend more time getting hands-on experience, as opposed to handling administrative tasks.

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The results were even worse when it came to salary. Among students who found jobs, former unpaid interns were actually offered less money than those with no internship experience.

As regards my opinion, I need to be critical and have a sceptical attitude about these results: Whilst it doesn’t surprise me that paid interns are more likely to get a good job, I do think unpaid interns have a good shot at using their experience and contacts to “land” a job.
One last thing to cheer you up: if you missed the internship boat this year, don’t panic: Next year should be even better.

Planning a Workshop? Tips for beginners

Life in the office is more than just sitting in front of your computer. Workshops are a good way of hearing people’s views and receiving feedback, as well as teaching participants practical skills, techniques, or about ideas that they can use, not only in their work, but also in their daily lives. Workshops create an educational experience in a short amount of time and are useful tools when certain circumstances arise, such as the beginning of something new, the demonstration of a new concept, initial training of staff and volunteers and updates on their development. If you are facing your first workshop do not panic, here are some tips to help you to prepare a good one!

When not done well, workshops can be a waste of time and money, therefore, you should take into account the following points in your planning:

#1 Goals: Every workshop must have a goal on which you focus, otherwise, there is no point in getting people together.

#2 Participants: Your target group is directly related to your objective so be specific when you decide who will attend, but leave a few openings for last-minute additions.

#3 Location: You have to be conscious about the number of attendants you will have, the logistics you may need and practical details such as the visibility of your visual aids.

#4 Agenda: After having cleared the previous points you can start to develop an outline of how you will achieve your goals. You will have to record the main points of your workshop with some details you want to communicate to the audience, list the visual aids you will use, if any, and be specific about the details of your group discussions and activities, considering the time you have available.

#5 Follow-up plan: It is essential that you find out the participants’ opinions about your workshop. Even if sometimes they are not positive, they will help you to learn from your mistakes and improve for the next time. Another important point is to have a plan to communicate the decisions that were reached during the workshop. And if your ultimate goal is to make a decision about something, remember that the more people who attend, the less likely it is that you will reach a decision, so you have to reduce your audience and be selective.

Once you have figured these points out and you have a solid plan, your only concern will be adding some excitement into your activity, since getting the attendants involved is the key to a successful workshop. If you organise the event by splitting them into groups, it is important that you mix different types of people in each group. Also, keep in mind that some people become nervous when speaking in front of an audience, therefore, in order to make them feel more comfortable interacting, you can keep the size of each group small.

In conclusion, the centre of all your planning should be the workshop’s main goal. Do not forget to keep the exercises creative to help everyone relax and to encourage them to get involved, and that in the follow-up afterwards you will be able to correct any little mistakes you may have made. And remember, the more detailed your plan, the more it ensures that your workshop will be on time and be successful.