As a college student, I can relate to what it feels like to scramble for an internship before graduating and thinking, “where do I even begin?” There are a ton of things to consider when looking for a potential internship. I am here to hopefully offer a few things to consider that came in handy for me personally when searching for that elusive internship.
1. What is the best fit for you?
One of the best pieces of advice I was given when searching for an internship was to keep in mind the firm that I would be interning for and what type of culture that firm has. Ultimately, you want to be able to be comfortable being yourself at the firm you choose to intern for and you wouldn’t want to feel out of place. The last thing you want to do is commit to a 3-month-long internship for a firm with employees who you can’t even get through one conversation with. The best way in determining if a firm is a right fit for you is getting as much exposure to that firm as possible. This can be through networking events, conversations with current employees or even simply looking on their website. Another thing to keep in mind is that if a firm decides to not interview you or hire you, this isn’t a sign that you’re the worst or that they completely dislike you… It should simply remind you that while firms are looking to hire people who would be a good fit for them, we should be looking for firms that would be a right fit for us as well. It isn’t always about what firm will be paying the most, but what firm will I thoroughly enjoy my internship with.
2. Now that you’ve narrowed down what firms you would want to work for, what type of leader are you looking to serve?
Unfortunately, we all have to start somewhere on the corporate ladder, and 99 percent of the time it will be at the bottom. However, we still have a choice in the leader and management team that we would want to serve under and learn from. At this point, hopefully memories of good bosses and horrible bosses are running through your mind. When considering a firm to intern at, we should be thinking about what style of management does this firm seem to reward or prefer? Is this leader someone that I would someday like to follow and take advice from? Is this a leader that I would be able to count on if things were going wrong? There are a lot of different types of leaders but one important quality I think every leader should have is willingness to serve right next to their followers. Instead of standing over everyone and barking orders, leaders should be looking for opportunities to make those orders easier to accomplish. Everyone performs better under different forms of management, and this is an important question to consider when looking for internships.
3.Lastly, will you be happy there?
If you’re anything like me, then you will be hoping for a full-time offer to come your way after the internship with the firm. We shouldn’t overlook this when deciding what firm to intern for. Is this a firm that I can see myself working for in the long run? Is there room for growth at this particular firm? These are both good questions to be asking yourself when looking for an internship. Everyone is different and will give different answers as to what qualities they’re looking for in a potential employer, but it is always a good idea to have a list of qualities that would make you happy and to do your best to stick to them.
I hope this serves as a good foundation of questions to consider and to build off of while in search of an internship or even a new job. Feel free to add to it and tailor it to your specific interests in employers. Good luck!