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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Williams

Top 8 things you should look for in an Internship

If you’re looking for an internship, you may be wondering about the best things to focus on. The true value of an internship comes from what you put into it. And that starts with finding an internship worth your while and having a clear idea of what you want to get out of it.

Here are the 10 things to think about when deciding on where to apply for your next internship.

Do you have an idea of the career you want?

One of the key parts of an internship is getting to experience a specific role or industry so that you can decide whether it’s something you want to pursue after graduation. When picking an internship, look for one that offers you a truly hands-on experience in an area you're really interested in - there is no point in building up skills in an area you will not eventually work in. This will allow you to make well-informed decisions about where you want to apply yourself down the line and find the career path that works best for you.

Will the opportunity develop your skills?

Sharpening what you’re learning and applying it is key. However, an internship is a great way to develop further and pick up other skills that will be useful to you in the future. Identify opportunities that give you rotational exposure to different parts of a business, not just a single activity. Not only will you make yourself more marketable after the internship, but you’ll also set yourself apart as a more-rounded candidate when you start applying.

Will the internship test and grow your knowledge?

Validate your interest in the chosen industry by test-driving what you’ve learned so far. Ask yourself if this is something you could see yourself doing for the long haul, and take the opportunity to explore different paths within your chosen profession. Internships are a great opportunity to get exposure to a potential career path without committing to it long-term.

Will it make your future applications stand out?

Look at your next internship as an opportunity to improve the quality of your future applications. Imagine what you would like to share with the recruiter in front of you about how you've taken proactive steps to hone further your skills, knowledge and experience in your desired sector.

Will you work on projects that matter to you and your future?

One key goal coming out of your internship should be the ability to say how you were able to make an impact. Having the opportunity to work on real-world projects is key and a highly valuable thing to mention in your next interview. Understand the types of projects interns have worked on in the past and what you might expect to work on during your time in the program. You can also gauge what kind of opportunity you’ll have to work on other side projects. Go into the internship to make the greatest impact you can make. This will help you walk away as the superstar for the summer and leave a will with a potential job offer after the internship is over.

Does the business culture reflect your values?

Find an internship that offers an environment that aligns with what matters most to you in the workplace. If you’re looking for summer Fridays (i.e. leaving the office on Friday at 2 p.m.), or a company that is committed to Net Zero, understand what the company values and what's expected from the business as this alignment will significantly affect how you show up.

Will you have access to mentors?

As you navigate what you’re looking to do professionally, it’s important to have mentors that you can rely on who will help you navigate the work environment you choose. Look for opportunities with a built-in support system for interns to access higher-level executives. Not only will this increase the exposure you get within the organisation, but you will grow your network and learn from people who have been working in the industry with an expert-level understanding.

Is there a job opportunity at the end of it?

Although a job at the end of the opportunity shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when picking an internship, it’s definitely something to keep in mind, particularly if you need an income to support yourself. It's also a good idea to prioritise paid internships. Getting work experience is certainly important, but you want to ensure that your chosen internship will benefit you holistically.

Taking part in an internship does require a lot of hard work however, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride while you’re at it. As mentioned, these opportunities don’t come often, so try to enjoy them as much as possible. Make friends and network! Explore your passion! Do your best work! This will not only help the company, but it will help you have a more enjoyable experience that rewards you and your career in the future.

Good luck!


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