Students hunting for bursaries or internships – follow these instructions to improve your application
By Selma Shilunga – Human Resource consultant – Sanlam.
How important is it really for students to do an internship before applying for a job? I have found that many universities including those in Namibia, require students to complete a certain number of hours of internship or experiential learning in order to graduate.
An internship enables students to gain first-hand exposure of working in the real word by applying the theoretical knowledge from school to practical work situations. Students can acquire endless amounts of education in their lives, however that knowledge does not always translate to the working life.
Internships and volunteer experiences make candidates more competitive in the job market. In addition to gaining exposure and experience in the field, they also provide an opportunity for students to see if the particular career choice is the right one based on the experience in the field.
Sanlam recently awarded 6 bursaries and 9 internships to students from the three universities in the country. As an HR consultant and the person heading up these projects, I noticed that many students despite meeting the requirements made simple mistakes which in many instances caused them to miss the opportunity of getting a bursary or internship.
Here are ten tips on how to apply for an internship or bursary:
1. Read the requirements and make sure you meet them before submitting your application – Students should take their time and understand what requirements the company has set and ensure that they meet these requirements. If not clearly stated, call the company to find out.
2. Create a checklist – After reading and understanding the requirements, make a checklist for yourself. This will help you tick things off and ensure you submit everything as required by the company.
3. Follow instructions – With every call for internships or bursaries there are instructions for students to follow. These often relate to submission of application etc. It is important to follow these instructions as failure to do so might result in your application not being considered.
4. Attach all the required documents – Ensure that you attached the correct documents such as your CV, cover letter, ID or student card, proof of registration, and academic record.
5. Update your documents – If you know you are looking for an internship or bursary, have your documents ready. Most companies advertise for bursaries at either the end or the beginning of the year. Get your ducks in a row and ensure you have everything that you need. Get certified copies of all relevant documents so that when you see an opportunity you’re interested in, it is simply a matter of making small changes and sending your application through.
6. Take your time – Many students are desperate for an opportunity for a bursary or internship and rightfully so. It is very easy to get caught up with excitement. Rather take your time and make sure you submit your application correctly rather then quickly.
7. Don’t wait until the last minute – While it is important to take your time with the application process, it is equally important to submit on time. Waiting until the last minute can result in you making a lot of mistakes and your application will simply not be considered.
8. Check that your email has gone through – I can not stress this enough, we have had students call us after the closing date to ask about their application when these were never received. Please make sure your email has gone through. If the email doesn’t go through, call the company to inform them or request an alternative email address.
9. Follow up – once you have submitted your application, it is wise to follow up with either a phone call or email as to the status of your application.
10. Be reachable – once you have submitted your application, make sure you are reachable. Institutions will try several times to reach you on the contacts details you provided but it is your responsibility to ensure people who need to reach you can do so.
It is important for students to note that they are competing against other students and the numbers are high. Therefore, take your application serious and do your best to set yourself above the rest. Remember, if you are unsure you can always contact the HR office for clarity. We are there to support you.
Sanlam awards internships twice a year so students who did not make it can always apply again during the next round. The next call for interns will be advertised in June through the press and all our social media platforms. The next call for bursaries will be in November 2020.