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3 Things to Consider Before Your Internship

April 28, 2017

Is this internship the right fit?

Before accepting any internship, the first thing you should consider is how well the position fits you and your future career goals. You have a limited amount of time in college to gain experience, and you’ll to ensure that every internship offers opportunities to expand your knowledge and prepare you for a job.

Jillian from DuPont puts it this way: “Not all internships are the same and not all companies follow the same guidelines.  It will be crucial during your interview stages that you ask probing questions that will help you to make the best decision. You may want to inquire about what a day in the life of an intern looks like.  Don’t be afraid to ask your potential employer if you could speak with a past or present intern to talk with them about their experiences. 

You want this internship to be worthwhile and to teach you out of the classroom experiences.  The goal of a good internship program is to better your resume and gain “real world” experiences that will eventually make you a more desirable candidate for a full-time position post-graduation." 1

By taking this step and getting a more clear idea of what the internship will entail, you can make sure it is something that will actually benefit you in the long run and advance your career goals. If it seems like the internship program does not align with your personal goals or expectations, it may be best to look for something else. You might only have time for one or two internships during your college career, and you want to make sure they are worthwhile.

How can you make the most out of the experience?

When people think of internships, they often imagine a college student making copies and going on coffee runs. Nowadays, very few internships are like this. Companies are giving interns real projects to work on that provide valuable experience. The company may be offering great opportunities, and it is important to make the most of these by being proactive.

In order to fully take advantage of your internship, Traci from Accenture gives this advice: “Are there calls you can join to gain a better understanding of a certain topic? Maybe there’s a networking event you can ask to be a part of. In general, demonstrating curiosity above and beyond your day to day, in any number of ways, establishes that you have a genuine interest in your position is a great start!” 2

As with many experiences, your internship will be as valuable as you make it. If you are willing to invest time and energy and go the extra step, you will gain so much more knowledge that you can use once you graduate and enter the workforce. Many internships have a lot to offer, if you’re willing to seek it out. It could be anything from finding a mentor to trying to learn about all of the departments of the company, not just your own. Being proactive is key to getting the most out of your experience.

How will you turn your internship into a job offer?

Often times, the goal of an internship is to get a full-time job offer. Many employers know this and plan accordingly. It is important to know what they’re looking for, and how to maximize your chances of future employment.

According to Claire from Textron, “Employers will notice interns who come prepared to work every day and are also willing to learn as much as possible from the internship. Interest in the company and willingness to go the extra step can go a long way when an employer is considering full time candidates. If you are interested in a full-time role with the company you are interning with, I would suggest building your network and asking full time employees about their job and why they like working there.” 3

An internship can be like a trial run for employers, and a chance for interns to prove themselves to companies. Many employers prefer to hire someone who they can see is hard-working and dedicated as opposed to taking a chance on someone new. Internships are a great way to network and start a career, so it is important to take advantage of every opportunity. You never know what might lead to a great job offer!

 

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