How To Choose The Right Internship

An intern meets with his supervisor at work

Are you a student nearing graduation, or someone looking to gain valuable experience? An internship can be an invaluable experience that helps you gain much-needed skill sets and grow professionally. The only problem is you may not be exactly sure of what you want to do for a career.

So, how do you choose the right internship?

Displaying relevant work experience should be your primary goal. Those with internships on their resume can sometimes land jobs quicker and earn higher salaries. This is because an internship can be a gateway to gaining skills, marketing those skills, and leveraging those skills to find the right career.

Here are some things to consider when chasing the right internship...

Don't Base The Decision On Money

Professional man/intern counts his money


An unpaid internship can lead to a great return down the road, not to mention a lucrative job offer. Focus your internship selection on companies that are looking to grow and expand, and possibly bring you in after graduation to advance their company to the next level.

Be A Self-Starter

A self-starting intern looks at her watch at work


Finding the right internship is very much like a traditional job search. It's important to have an idea about some of the jobs you may want to pursue, then make a bucket list of companies that you are interested in interning at.

Perhaps the company you want to intern for does not generally accept interns or advertise internship opportunities. Sending a cover letter that expresses your keen interest in interning for the company or offering to volunteer 10-20 hours a week can go a long way. Show initiative, passion, dedication, and pursuit of success to the prospective company.

This is also a great networking strategy because even if you don't get an immediate opportunity, you begin to start to a conversation with people at these companies, and they may keep you in mind whenever an opportunity comes up.

Select An Internship That Will Allow You To Build Essential Skills

A young professional/intern takes an online course to develop her skill sets


There are certain essential skills that matter in the workforce when looking to grow your career. Leadership, collaboration, project management, and relationship building are among some of those intricate skills. When looking into internships, research the types of skills that you will obtain during that internship.

Having a list of skills that you want to build upon will allow you to find out during the application and interview process whether those skills can be accentuated while serving as an intern. During the interview, ask about the mentoring program for interns, training and support, projects and assignments, and the performance criteria for feedback. Strong internship programs will provide all of these objectives.

Attend Networking Events To Meet Executives And Business Leaders

A group of professionals/interns take part in an online networking event


Meeting local business leaders and executives at virtual and in-person networking events can allow you to leverage your impact and can also provide you with great insight into the companies they work for. Don't forget to connect with these important persons on LinkedIn, and always follow up with a personalized email or phone call to reaffirm your gratitude for meeting them.

Overall, choosing the right internship for you can bring forth a future working opportunity that leads to full-time commitment and advancement with introductory training and experience.

Need more help finding the right internship for you?

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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