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Top Five Things to Look for in an Internship

By Genevieve Martin

Genevieve Martin is Careerstone Group’s 2021 Summer Intern. She attends George Mason University as a Marketing Major.

Finding an internship that’s right for you can be difficult. What an employer envisions as an internship opportunity may vary vastly from what a student may be looking for in an internship. Ask yourself: What is my dream company? Who would my ideal coworkers be? Where do I see myself in 5 years? Choose an internship that can make all those dreams seem a little closer or maybe make them all come true.

At its best, an internship can help you build technical and interpersonal skills, enhance your resume, and expand your network. No matter what goals you prioritize, here are five things to pursue in your next internship:

1. A chance to work with smart and motivated people

You are a combination of the people you surround yourself with, so research who you might be working with. Your internship should be enjoyable and teach you new skills. If your coworkers are motivated, then you are more likely to be as well. Before applying, read about the company and explore the team’s biographies on the company website. Try to get a sense of whether you will fit well with the people you will work with and learn from.

2. The opportunity to add new tools into your toolbox

Learning. New Experiences. New Tools. You want to take in as much as you can while working in an internship. Take advantage of this time to learn as much as you can. You should leave with a better resume than you came in with. Apply for internships that interest you and include new learning opportunities and are relevant to your field.

3. Challenging assignments

To get the most out of this experimental time, look for challenges- whether they’re stretch projects or learning new technical, social, or workplace skills. Get out of your comfort zone when you can. Challenging assignments will help you grow professionally and might even impress those you’re working with. Embrace seemingly challenging assignments with open arms.

4. Ability to network internally

Networking is extremely important for career development. Working with a team, even temporarily, gives you a great opportunity to make connections and add to your network. Use this time to connect with your team on LinkedIn. This way you can keep in touch with them even after you leave. You never know - maybe someone in your network will have the next opportunity for you.

5. Opportunity for full time employment

An internship is a great way to introduce yourself to a company that you really want to work for full time. This is a chance for their team to see how you work and the value you’d add to their organization. More than 51% of undergraduates said that an opportunity for full time employment was the most important quality in an internship.

Look for companies that might have open job positions or that you think you would add the most value to. When the time comes, show up to impress.

An important element in achieving career and organizational success is being well connected both within and outside your organization. Learn more here:

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