Where to Find Internships: A Guide for Students

Hey, everyone! I’m back yet again with another article. This time, we will discuss something that all students, particularly university students, will find relevant: internship hunting! I’ve done my fair share of internship hunting as an undergraduate student. I, too, understand the stress that comes with putting together a resume, the confusion that comes with the many job portals, and the anxiety that comes with waiting for a reply from the organization. So, I thought it would be good to write a guide for everyone else who is struggling!

Today, we will focus on one aspect of the internship journey – specifically, where one even finds internship opportunities in the first place. Although, do take note that these recommendations are based on my personal experiences. I am an NUS undergraduate studying psychology, and my recommendations gear towards individuals with a similar demographic. So, with that in mind, let’s explore the internship scene!

1. University Portals

If you are in university, chances are you would have come across your university job portal. I know both SMU and NTU have one specifically for their students. However, since I am in NUS, this segment applies more to NUS undergraduates. Regardless, do access to your school’s portal as early as possible and familiarise yourself with its search options.

The NUS job portal is ‘Talent Connect’ (link here), which is the main job portal I use. All you have to do is sign in with your university ID and password, and you can find a plethora of jobs. Regardless of your degree, there will definitely be something available! Of course, it is useful for finding a wide range of jobs, and you can even select the period (e.g. over the summer, during the semester, etc.) and the type (e.g. part-time, work from home, etc.). I have used it to find my internships over the summer, but there are also listings from tuition organizations or ad-hoc transcription jobs that I have applied for.

For those looking to apply for a summer internship, I recommend starting to hunt for opportunities early. There are times when I will start searching for opportunities as early as January, and do note that some listings can be listed as early as February or March. Since I’m a psychology student, I use terms such as ‘psychology’ or ‘research’ in the search box, and save the jobs I might be interested in (there is a star on the top right corner of the internship listing —click that to save it for later). If I’m looking for an ad-hoc job, terms like ‘part-time’ are also searchable.

But, aside from NUS Talent Connect, there is also another, perhaps lesser-known portal: IAAS (link here). The jobs listed here are not as many and not as varied as on TalentConnect, and the timings may not be ideal (for example, only five positions are available when I search ‘psychology’, and most of them require me to work during the semester). However, there are good opportunities available here that might not be posted on NUS Talent Connect. For example, I was looking for a more flexible, ad-hoc job this summer, and my friend managed to find an MOE research posting that suited my requirements on IAAS. So, for all NUS students, it can be good to keep a lookout!

One final job portal for NUS students is the NUS Student Work Scheme (link here). This portal is best for finding research assistant jobs during the semester, or just part-time or ad-hoc jobs. For example, you can apply to work at the NUS Museum and earn some money on the side. However, based on my experience, the probabilities of acceptance are relatively low, and the main point of contact will likely not take the time to reject you (i.e. only successful candidates will be chosen). An alternative option is to use the portal to find research possibilities — you can sign up to be a research participant, and get a certain amount of money from it. But this portal (in my opinion) is not the best for things like three-month summer internships.

2. Being Mentored

Another option is to find a mentoring program. While this might seem less direct than applying for an internship, it can help the process. Firstly, it helps you build connections — mentors tend to work in the industry and once you connect with them, you at least have a contact in a particular organisation. This can help because you might be interviewed directly by them or, if not, hear about the application process and learn about what the organisation is looking for. You can then tailor your resume, or ask your mentor for advice regarding the application process. Additionally, your mentor can send you the application link, and let you know if there are any opportunities in the organisation.

Secondly, mentoring can open the door to further opportunities. For example, I was mentored under the SG Psych Stuff mentoring program. They currently have a Telegram channel, and one chat is dedicated entirely to internship/job listings and opportunities. This is another avenue for me to learn about possible opportunities, and apply for them.

Of course, in this segment I have only mentioned psychology-specific examples. However, there are mentoring programs for other disciplines — a quick google search will suffice. Additionally, NUS has mentoring programs that are discipline-specific. They have one for FASS as well, which I am also currently under. So regardless of your major, there should be a mentoring program available for you!

3. Previous Internships/Connections

This is linked to the first two points, but I think it is still good to mention that you should keep the email addresses or contacts of prior connections. These connections can be from mentoring programs, or it can be from previous internships. It can even be from an internship that you applied for but ended up rejecting. Regardless of how you got the contact, you should always save it in case you wish to apply for the position in the future.

For example, I had applied for a research position through NUS Talent Connect, and had rejected it in the end as it was during my semester. However, this summer, I am looking for an ad-hoc job, and noticed that they fit my requirements. Thus, I emailed the previous contact asking if they had summer openings, managed to get an interview, and have been accepted as an intern! In summary: keep your connections.

4. Job Portals

The next two points will be more relevant for individuals waiting to enter university. I remember what it was like job hunting during that period, and I know that many individuals are also trying to find some way to boost their resume. So, I decided to give my thoughts and opinions based on my own experience in hopes of helping all of you!

One other option is to use general job portals. There are many online job portals that you can utilise to find a wide range of jobs, whether they be more physically demanding or office-based. For jobs relevant to your (intended) degree, try LinkedIn. There are many psychology postings online, and it is possible to apply to organizations through there. Of course, they have more than just psychology-related jobs, so feel free to go and search for jobs related to your degree. However, based on my experience, LinkedIn tends to have slow or limited responses, and so I stick mainly to TalentConnect. But it is another option worth mentioning.

Additionally, I remember when I was waiting for university and had nothing to do, but wanted some job experience anyways. I would use phone applications like FastJobs, YY Circle and Staffie. For online websites, Indeed and Glints are two potential portals. I still use them, particularly when I do not have time for a three-month internship. Although it should be noted that my main reason for using it is to earn fast cash, or to take on a temporary or ad-hoc job during my free time. The jobs I apply for with this method tend to be more manual-intensive, such as being a banquet server or a concession stand worker during an event. However, if you are looking for money, this is a good way.

If you are waiting for university and you have limited prior experience in your desired major (e.g. it can be very hard to have any psychology-related experiences prior to entering university), it can be difficult to find degree-related jobs. I recommend that you consider some of these jobs, mainly because the skills can be transferable later on. For example, being a waitress can teach you valuable communication skills. Many often underestimate the importance of these transferable skills, but in an interview, having these experiences can genuinely give you an advantage. Personally, I went for an interview with HPB about a psychological intervention program, and when they asked me whether I had experience working with people of different ages, I could add these kinds of experiences as evidence to show that I can communicate comfortably.

5. Scholarship Applications

One final possibility, particularly for those who have not entered university, is to apply for scholarships. Now, I am not familiar with every single scholarship offered in Singapore. But I do remember applying to the PSC scholarship. And as part of the application process, I would get the opportunity to intern at a government organization. Even if I was rejected from the application in the end, at the very least, I was able to gain some working experience from the application process.

I interned at MOE under the psychological services branch, where I was involved in the creation of content for primary school students with reading difficulties and dyslexia. I was there for two months, and in the end that opening became the first entry on my resume. So, if you can, I highly encourage you to at least try and apply, because you will gain something out of the process.

And that’s all from me, see you guys next time!

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