Internship: what do students have to pay attention to

The cover page of a CV, with a pair of glasses placed on it. (Photo: Uli Carthäuser /
A complete application is only one part of the requirements. (Photo: Uli Carthäuser/

For students with disabilities, finding a good internship may prove to be quite challenging. Marloes Wigman, from Dow Europe, gives answers to questions concerning what is important to consider while looking or applying for a job or for going to the first job interview.

MyHandicap (MyH): An internship is an important step between training and career. What do you take into consideration when hiring students for an internship?

Marloes Wigman (MW): We are looking for motivated and performing students. A result-oriented approach, self-initiative, strong motivation and the ability to learn are among the characteristics we are looking for.

At Dow, we consider internship as a "talent-pipeline for a bright future". We look for potential collaborators and expect the same standards as with new employees. We strive to hire only the best. Our internship is one of the most efficient ways to evaluate young and talented students. It also enables us to work with students on a daily basis and to gain some insights on their abilities.

Dow encourages students who are looking for an internship

MyH: For students with disabilities, finding an internship may prove to be quite challenging. What are the main difficulties?

MW: Various initiatives and cooperation projects with organisations offer their support to students with disabilities in their search for an internship. We strongly encourage students to apply for an internship at Dow.

However, concerning the chemical department, there are a few practical questions to be considered, especially in regards to accessibility, as well as the possibility to leave the premises as soon as possible should an accident happen. Not all of our working places, in the factory or in the laboratory, are adequate for people with disabilities. Whenever possible, we remove such obstacles.

No difference between students with or without disabilities

MyH: When applying for a job, what should students with disabilities pay attention to, and which documents are they expected to hand in?

MW: We make no difference between students with or without disabilities. One important requirement is that their field of studies corresponds to what is required in the internship. For our internship in production or technique, this means for example that students who have completed the second year of their studies in technology studies can be recruited. The students must be available for three months and be registered at a university.

Furthermore, we give great importance to the proactive attitude of the student in his search for an internship. With an application, we expect a complete CV containing all information on training, work experience and completed internships. An accompanying letter can help to explain why it is important to do an internship with Dow. Also, the student can let us know why he or she believes this should be the best option for him or her.

No detail about the disability in the application

MyH: How detailed should the information be about the disabilities?

MW: In an application, there should be no detailed information about the type of disability. However, if the student is invited to an interview, he or she should mention which sort of requirements concerning the working place or the accessibility is needed. This will enable us to make the necessary arrangements.

MyH: What is important to consider in an interview?

MW: Come well prepared! This is the key to any good interview and will show us that you are an interesting candidate for this internship and that you really want to do it with us. I recommend candidates to have a look at our website before they come to the interview and have an idea about what our company does, what values we stand for etc.

Think about the reasons why you want to do an internship in our company. Inform yourself about the technical knowledge that is required and if it is compatible with your field of studies. Think also about what we would like to know about you. And last but not least, bring your enthusiasm and interest for our company and for the internship.

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