Whether you are starting college, finishing up college, or are on the brink of starting your career in a brand new field, an internship is most likely coming your way. As I am sure you know, selecting an internship can define your career. Coming from someone who works for a staffing company, I’m definitely going to tell you that taking the time to find the right one is worth it!
I am not writing a blog that has the title “10 Ways to Get You the Best Internship” or “5 Things to Help You Start Your Career off Right” (yes those are terrible titles but you get the point). This is really as easy as taking your time, doing your research, and not taking the very first option that comes your way.
When you start preparing for your internship early, it gives you the time to gather your options and prepare yourself. You are able to research many different opportunities that you may be interested in and start working on your resume and cover letter. Think about it. The more time you give yourself to prepare, the more thought you will give to what things are important to you in this internship. You don’t want to be just a few months out when you start this process. Most internships have made their hires several months out anyways. Get in front of other candidates and in front of the right employers.
Do your due diligence on any organization you are interested in contacting. You want to select an internship that will help build upon the skills you already have and potentially help find skills you had no idea you possessed. This rarely happens under poor leadership. Make sure you try to contact other people who have gone through the process previously, if at all possible.
Finally, don’t be too eager to say YES. Spend time exploring other opportunities. You would be surprised at some of the things you find out when you have information to compare such as compensation, time off, work schedules, and even location. You have no idea how happy I am that I did not take the first internship that was offered to me. I said no to a decent offer without having the security of another offer on the table! Boy was that a difficult decision. I believed in my research and the idea of what kind of environment I wanted to be sharpening my skills in and guess what? It paid off. Because of that decision, I now have a much better reference on my resume, skills that I advanced in a real-world environment, and the experience of a lifetime.
The bottom line…BE PATIENT. By preparing early, researching what is most important and sticking to it, you will be successful in finding and selecting the right internship for you.
Written by: Alex Purtell
Alex is the founder of Froot Group, a worship staffing and consulting company.