HOW TO APPLY FOR INTERNSHIPS (HOME OR ABROAD)
It’s no news that internships are a great and fast way to accrue indelible knowledge and experience in a field or line of work and practice. These opportunities are also well spread, right here at home and even overseas. Here’s a short walkthrough on how to secure internships. This applies to jobs as well, and is indeed not restricted to the legal profession.
- SCOUT FOR OPPORTUNITIES: In many instances, these opportunities may slide your way. However, it comes in handy when you take further steps in carrying out research to find that company or firm you’ll prefer to intern or work at. For instance, you can start generic by searching for ‘2018 South Africa Internships for international law students’ on Google. You can also check websites which constantly share such opportunities, like opportunitiesforafricans.com, www.graduate.ng, www.myjobmag.com, and even here on Legal Pages.
- SELECT YOUR PREFERRED FIRM(S) AND RETRIEVE CONTACT DETAILS: Having searched for internship opportunities and found a few firms, select from that list those that match your preference. It’s advisable to apply to multiple firms as it increases your chances. From the selected firms, visit their official websites to read more about the firm, their culture, team, practice areas, recent deals or business etc. These might come in handy in case you’re scheduled for an interview with any of the firms. Quite importantly, you are to get the firm’s email address. This can be easily found on the ‘contact’ or ‘about us’ page of their website and in some cases, the footer (bottom) of their website. It’s an added advantage where you can get the email address of the HR personnel at such firms, as it could speed up your application.
- GET YOUR CV AND COVER LETTER TOGETHER: For more about drafting a CV, click here. For more about drafting a cover letter, click here. It’s quite important that you avoid sending the same CV or cover letter to different companies, especially when those companies are in totally different ‘trades’. Tailor your CV and Cover Letter to the respective firms you’re applying to. Also, many firms prefer your CV and Cover Letter in a PDF format; this is not a rule however.
- SEND YOUR APPLICATION: For more about drafting an email, click here. Once your CV and Cover letter are complete, you’ll need to send them to the target firm(s), via email. It’s advisable to attach both your CV and Cover letter in your mail, as opposed to just typing them out directly on the mail. In the body of the mail, you may indicate to the firm the reason you are sending your CV and Cover Letter; ‘to apply for a Legal Internship position at your firm’, for instance.
- FOLLOW UP: Many of these firms receive a handful of applications on a daily basis, and might easily overlook yours. This is where following up becomes very important. Where after one to two weeks, you are yet to get back from the firm, do send a follow up message, prompting the firm of your prior application. However, this must be done respectfully!
- THE INTERVIEW: Most firms, upon scaling through the first stage, will invite you for an interview, whether physical, phone or video call. For more about interviews and acing them, click here.
For most firms, the interview is the final stage of their recruitment process. It’s always a thing of joy receiving that mail confirming your successful application for the internship or job you’ve applied for. However, where you do not scale through, don’t give up, instead, learn from the mistakes you might have made at any stage of the process, and diligently chase other opportunities. Remember there are a lot of these opportunities abroad too. It’s all boils down to your resilience and research.
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Wishing you well in your next internship or job hunt!
Founder and Editor-in-chief,