The decision to apply for an internship is one of the many steps in student life. One of the most important steps, however, is choosing the international internship that best suits you. There are important questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on an industry, company or internship role. Most of the time, we have exciting options available to us that may not be as obvious as some of the more traditional ones.
Many university degrees offer a variety of career paths. For example, a Law graduate has the option of becoming a practising lawyer, an advisor, a paralegal, a politician or a public servant, to name only a few! It is important that you are aware of all of your options before deciding on one path. Here are five questions to ask yourself when finding the right internship for you.
1. What is your purpose?
Are you embarking on an internship because it is a compulsory step in gaining your professional qualifications? Or do you just want to try out a new industry? What is your reason for wanting to start an internship in the first place?
The answer to this question will highlight your motivations for wanting to do an internship. If there is a specific process and internship you need to complete in order to become qualified, then this will restrict the type of internship you will apply for.
The answer to this question will also give you an idea of how long your internship should last; whether for only a few weeks so you can see what the industry is like, or for a few months so you can learn a specific skill set.
2. What are your interests?
Working in an internship requires a lot of your time, energy and potential cost — so you want to be working in an industry or role you enjoy or have an interest in. Unless your sole purpose is to try something radically opposite to everything you currently enjoy, then stick to what you like!
Choosing an internship in an industry you are interested in can be extremely rewarding. Not only are you surrounded by like-minded people, but you will be inspired and rewarded professionally for the skills you learn and the challenges you overcome. As Confucius said,”choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.
3. What are your strengths?
So you might be the type of person who has many interests and so that question alone cannot tell you which internship is right for you. The next question to ask yourself then is, what are your strengths? What is it that you are good at?
Maybe you are particularly organised, maybe you are very good with people and networking, or maybe your skills are in research and analysis. Working and developing your strengths can be a way to open opportunities and learn new skills along the way — and who knows, you might just land the dream job you never knew existed!
4. What type of experience do you want to have?
Do you want to know what the corporate world is like? Do you want to work on a particular project? Do you want to work under a specific person or mentor? Or do you want to have a life-changing or adventurous experience?
This question can often tell you what industry or type of internship would suit you best. There are wide-ranging internships available and your options really are endless. So don’t be afraid or overwhelmed to try something new or to try something you have always wanted to do! Internships are the perfect way to challenge yourself.
5. What result do you want?
Do you want a paid position with the company? Do you want greater knowledge of the field? Do you want to network and meet like-minded people? What is the main goal or aim you want from your internship? This is a really important question to ask yourself since you will be looking at very different opportunities depending on your answers.
If you want to be offered a paid position in your internship, then obviously you will be choosing a company in a field in which you already have some knowledge or interest in. But if you just want to develop your professional skills and have a great experience, then you might be a bit more flexible in the types of companies or roles you apply for.
Internships are a great way to try something new and gain experience in an industry you really enjoy. They are also a great way to network and to “get your foot in the door” into the industry of your dreams. So do not be afraid to aim high and to choose an internship that will really inspire and challenge you!
Internshipmapper is a career portal for students and graduates. We also provide range of graduate recruitment services to help sourcing candidates for internships or graduate jobs, and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs, visit their website.
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