In today’s tech savvy world you have to wonder if there’s any value to an internship? After all aren’t we talking a part-time gig working for a local company to make a few dollars to cover food, entertainment, gas, your car and other interesting, if not essential needs?
Generally, when thinking about internships, we imagine high school or college students and occasionally someone out of the workforce where years may have passed since they last worked. It’s where a potential employee and the company agree to try each other on for some period of time that need, interest and circumstances dictate.
So what makes for a good internship?
Is it an “A-level” company with a global presence? Or how about a start-up with a few employees where you’re working with the owner or founder – is that ideal? Maybe the best internship is the one that pays the most for the least amount of work? Or might it be the internship that challenges you to think, to apply what you know or what you’ve learned, to try, to fail and to learn by doing or in some cases re-doing?
Actually, a good internship is all or none of these alternatives depending on your expectations, and those of your potential employer. You need to ask yourself what am I looking for in an internship, and what can I take from this internship that will get me closer to doing what I think I want to do? After all, a valuable internship is also the one that helps you decide what you don’t like and would never want to do.
To quote Forest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” The same thought can apply to internships. Do your homework and engage those who work there now. Learn who your manager will be and what they are like. Is it someone you can learn from, do they have experience in your field, and is it someone you can respect? If doubts persist move on. An internship is about you and your future, not whether you earned points for enduring a disappointing experience.