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What to Look for When Looking for Internships

October 26, 2017
Consider an employer's mission, vision and values when searching for an internship.
Consider an employer's mission, vision and values when searching for an internship.

By: Sam Stein

Internships are the steppingstones into the real-world that give you experience and help you discover what you want to do in your future. They look great on resumes and are full of life experiences. But what should you look for when you’re getting ready to apply for them? Do you just pick the first ones you see and hope for the best? Well, if you’re looking for a little guidance, you’ve come to the right place; here are some things to consider when looking for internships:

Industry - Before diving right in, think about the type on industry you want to work in. Don’t be afraid to spread your wings and look at internships that don’t necessarily fit your degree title. Remember that your degree is versatile and you can do anything from project management to something that directly involves your concentration. If you’re not sure where you want to go, shoot for something in your field. Be willing to do something you’ve never done before, you might really like it and you will learn a lot.  

Mission, Vision and Values - Look into the companies you are interested in working for. Check out their website to see the kind of work they do and what their goals are. The culture of the company is something a lot of people forget to look at. You want to be in a workplace that values you and your hard work and aligns with your personal value and goals. Sure, you might not find the perfect fit your first time, but that in itself is a great learning experience so you know what you want in the future.

Requirements - Once you’ve looked at some companies you are interested in, check out what they are looking for in an intern or future employee. While the general list of what they are looking for is great; don’t forget about other skills that you’ve acquired throughout your life. Maybe you are a great public speaker, have a good foundation in GIS, or you work well in groups. Maybe you have worked in the service industry and have great people skills, or you are an Eagle Scout which shows that you are driven and don’t give up easily. Life skills are just as important as the skills you learn in the classroom so don’t sell yourself short.

Location - While this doesn’t sound important, I promise that it is. If you’ve never been far from home or are super close with your family, taking an internship far away from home can be scary and a bit of a challenge. Being away from home can be daunting, but just remember that an internship isn’t forever and you have to power to choose where you end up in life; so take a chance, you’ll be surprised by the opportunities that will come your way.

Now you’re ready to go out into the world and start sending in your resumes. Make sure they are pretty and polished, and don’t be afraid to apply to something you think you might not get; you might be surprised at the opportunities that will come your way! Don’t feel down if you don’t get an internship your first time around, some things aren’t always meant to happen, so stay excited and keep looking forward! You got this!

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