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The purpose of a banking internship is for companies to assess whether they should give you a full time graduate role. But amid the global pandemic, companies have shifted online, with banks offering virtual internships instead. Although it might be difficult for employers to recruit interns that they have never met in-person, here are a few tips to increase visibility and chances of getting a returning offer.
1. Be proactive
Employers want to see that you are eager to learn and would go the extra mile to show enthusiasm for the industry. On top of your assignments, training, and networking, you should proactively seek for additional work opportunities. Approach someone who works in your area of interest and ask them if you could be of help in any way. Instead of signalling the gesture was done out of free time, emphasise your interest and that you’d find the work to be productive on both sides. This is also a great opportunity to network and obtain feedback from your supervisors. You will make a really good impression if you’re able to demonstrate clear improvements following task feedback received. Alternatively, take up your own passion-projects, either by yourself or with other interns, and pitch it to seniors who may find it useful. Extra efforts can go a long way and can reap great rewards. However, be sure to always back up what you say and/or idea you offer with research or why you think that way.
2. Be efficient and strategic
Don’t waste your time trying to execute your tasks perfectly – people know you are here for a learning experience and are aware that you might not have extensive knowledge in a specific subject area. If you get stuck, be proactive and ask for help! Not only will this help you get things done quicker, but will also be a great networking opportunity.
3. Be consistent
There should not be a day when you feel like you have done enough and therefore decide not to reach out to anyone or do anything proactive. If you think you have performed exceptionally well for a week and then do nothing meaningful for even half a day, then it is a red flag for them. Even if you are working with new people or in a new area that you do not really see yourself working in in the future, you need to show that you remain enthusiastic. While you will be asked to share which position you are most interested in and why, you should show that you remain open minded to any position. For example, if you are only interested in sales but do not care about traders and do not reach out to any traders, you will make a bad impression overall as people with different positions work together and you need to understand the role of a trader to be a good sales person.
4. Don’t be afraid to network with others
What matters most during your internship is visibility: you want people to know who you are. Especially in virtual internships where there’s less direct interactions, you should take the initiative to reach out and network, whether it be things like career questions, advice, performance feedback, or even their opinions on current affairs. At the same time, be prepared to share your own opinions and experiences, giving you the chance to network with people of different seniority levels. During an internship, there’s no such thing as a stupid question, so don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications or follow-up questions.
Finally, be sure to follow up with the people you have interacted with. After a meeting or call, send them questions about anything you were unclear about, or if you happen to be struggling with a task. You should be making the most out of your internship, so try to get maximum exposure in different practice areas in order to know where you fit in best!
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