By now, you already know how important internships are. Hopefully, you also know that not just any training will do. After all, you don’t expect that an internship in a summer camp will count when applying for a job as a lawyer. For that reason, it is crucial that you pick an internship that will help you learn the skills you need to be successful in your chosen career path. Read on if you are looking for selection criteria to help you choose an internship program that makes your CV stand out.
Have an Objective
To paraphrase one of the famous black writers, you begin learning how to live when you know how much there is to know. There are two options. You can choose an internship where you will learn how to perform optimally in your career directly or learn a complementary skill that would complement your career role. For example, if you want to be a teacher, you can take an internship at a school to learn teaching practices, or you can take an internship in an arts institution to learn how you can use art to teach your students better. Either way, have in mind what you want out of the internship before applying.
Decide if You Want a Paid or Unpaid Internship
Some organizations pay their interns while some don’t. There will be times when you will get a great internship opportunity that does not pay. You have to decide if that is going to be a deal-breaker for you. A paid internship is your best option from a financial standpoint, but there may be times when you should take an unpaid internship. This is especially true if they have a great internship program your CV would benefit from or offer full-time opportunities to their interns after the internship period.
Big Company or Small
Many people want their CVs to show that they worked for a recognizable brand name. However, there are times when a smaller company or even a startup would be a much better fit for you. After all, many employees are looking at the skills you have more than where you got them. That does not mean that there is anything wrong with working for a big company. You may find very experienced mentors there. What you are gaining from the internship is a more important factor to consider than where you are getting it from.
Full Time vs. Part-time
If you are looking for an internship during the term, a part-time internship may serve you better than a full-time internship. Sometimes it’s not that it’s term time but that you have a job to pay your bills or you are attending summer school. Whatever the reason, make sure the internship can meet your lifestyle needs. If you are looking to experience what it would be like when you are employed in the future, it is advisable to take a full-time internship at least once so that you get to experience what it will be like.
Networking and Mentors
These are two separate points, but they can go together. First, you want a job that will allow you to interact with people who may be your ticket to a job in the future. Next, you want to be able to find mentors. You may find them either in the institution you are interning for or in the professional networks you form during the internship. They will tell you what it is like to work in the industry, help you get the best experience out of your training, and generally help you focus your internship on increasing your chances of success in the future.
Different companies have different work environments. You may not always get to pick an environment that works for you, but sometimes you will be lucky. For example, you may prefer working in a relaxed, almost casual environment. If you do, research the work environment of the company you are interning for. Find a place where your personality fits with the company culture. After all, you don’t want to be loathing Monday mornings (or every morning for that matter) when you are still interning.
This may sound obvious but try to find an internship close to where you live. This is especially important if you are not financially stable enough to move to a different location or if a commute would be a massive inconvenience for you. However, you may need to make a sacrifice if the internship is an excellent opportunity.
Finding ‘the perfect’ internship may look like an uphill task, but it makes all the effort worth it when you do find one. With a few excellent internships under your belt, you may have a selection of skills that could make you very employable in the future. Also, if you are lucky, you may develop a good relationship with the company leading them to offer you a job in the future.