When Choosing the Right Internship, Ask Yourself These Questions:
Get a feel for the work environment. Make sure that your office makes you feel comfortable. Don't settle for an internship that doesn't match your personality. Your office space shouldn’t feel crowded. You should at least have your own chair desk, computer, printer, phone, etc. Is the internship environment right for me?
Does the nature of the work match my major and career objectives? If you major in Business you shouldn’t be interning in a hospital. Look at the internship posting - Are the tasks very common and broad or are they specific to your learning criteria? Ask the employer what you can expect from the position. If you’re enrolled in a degree program, find out if the internship hours can be applied as course credit.
Sometimes interns realize they are not gaining insight or experience they were expecting. Your primary objective is to learn, both about the business in general, as well as to acquire the specific skills necessary to function effectively in the industry. Be proactive. Talk to your supervisor about what kind of tasks you’d be interested in doing. Will I have meaningful tasks and real responsibility?
Free breakfast or lunch are always appealing. Does the company give half days/vacation days/paid sick leave? Does the company invite you to meetings, dinners or other activities? Benefits can boost an intern’s morale, foster communication and help add value to the company. Does the company offer any perks or incentives?
Will my supervisor be around to guide me? There is nothing more frustrating than feeling forgotten. With no one around to clarify questions, you may never know if you’re doing things properly. Make sure there is always someone who you can report back to, gain feedback from and ensure you’re always learning.
Will I receive learning objectives and feedback throughout my internship? Criticism should be constructive and helpful. Praise should give you the confidence to keep up the great work. Well-documented learning objectives give you clear direction and goals. Follow the SMART principle- Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.
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