But with everyone competing for the best internship, it’s important to stay focused on what really counts. You want an internship that will provide relevant experience in a field or industry you think may interest you after graduation.
Along with the ubiquitous experience, there are many more aspects to consider before choosing an internship. If possible, shelf the Rivalry Rules for the coolest internship and try to think more comprehensively about what you want and need from an internship to build your early career.
Paid or Unpaid
Don’t settle for an unpaid internship just because it’s cool at a cool company. Sure, you want to wow your friends and sometimes, an unpaid internship might be your only option. But try your best to find something paid.
In the current economy many internships are unpaid. It’s ok to accept unpaid internships, but it’s best to do so if the experience is highly relevant for your career path. Plenty of companies are able to pay interns. Do your best to find them.
Relocation and Living Expenses
Related to the first point, you’ll need to consider your financial situation if you accept an internship that requires relocation. Paying for plane tickets, baggage, moving companies and living expenses can be very pricey, especially if you accept an unpaid position. Ideally, the company would help pay for your relocation and living expenses, but many won’t go that far for an intern. Be sure you can afford your internship before you accept the position.
The “Busy” Factor
Internships are most beneficial when you actually have something to do. Sitting in an office browsing Facebook for eight hours a day will not contribute much to your resume. Choose an internship that fits your ambitions. Discuss your internship goals with your interviewer right off the bat as to whether or not there is enough work to keep you busy for the duration of your internship. Let them know you’d like to work hard and learn a lot during your time as an intern.
You might be surprised to learn how much office culture can impact your internship experience. Even if you think you’ve landed your dream internship say, working from the beach or delivering food to A-list celebrities and living in Hollywood, if you don’t vibe well with your co-workers and your boss, the job will be misery.
Ask the interviewer for a tour of the office to get a feel for the culture. Try to talk with a few of your possible co-workers in the break room, and also gauge how you and your boss interact. You’ll have the most fun and be most productive in an environment that suits your work style.
Chances for Landing a Job
Lastly, choose an internship that shows a promise for a future career with the company. Even if you aren’t crazy about your tasks as an intern, you can still learn about the company and which entry-level jobs would be a good fit for you. Lean toward choosing an internship with a thriving company with possibilities for being hired into a solid job later down the road.
The best internship for you may not be the best internship for everyone. Carefully consider your personal career goals, financial situation and personality to find the internship that is the best fit for you.
About the Author: Ashley Spade, in addition to being a social media ninja and alumna of several successful internships, is a law student in the Windy City. She lives, plays, and studies in Chicago with her ever-faithful sidekick, Sir Winston Pugsalot the First. Follow their adventures on Twitter or via ProfessionalIntern.com.