We’re all familiar with internship horror stories: those grueling days working with a meagre pay, running to get coffee and the dry-cleaning for a supervisor before photocopying a stack of documents as tall as you are. However, that is not always the case. Hiring an intern is no longer a polite way of hiring someone to run your daily errands, and many organisations today not only use internship programs as a way to give students a taste of the real working world, but as a way to trial potential employees. Here’s how you can tell if your internship will be worth it:
1. The job description is substantially written
When an organisation boasts a strong internship program, that means they could eventually invest in you as a long-term employee. The more specific an employer is about the job responsibilities, the better. The company should be just as clear in a job description for an internship as they are with any full-time position. This shows that your employers both care about and have a concrete idea of the type of work they’ll need from you, implying that your work matters to them. If the internship you’re considering can check of these boxes, it’s likely that you’re in for a good experience.
2. Former interns have leave reviews
Beyond talking to the hiring manager, the best way to get intel about an internship is straight from the source: former interns. Seek them out and ask about the specifics of their day-to-day duties in the role and whether the internship aligned with their interests or degree. If they generally have good things to say, it most likely means that the company will be committed to training you as a future employee.
3. You know how your work contributes to the bigger picture
An inclusive work environment will ensure that the purpose of an intern’s work is communicated to them directly and effectively. On top of knowing that you’re part of a great working culture, if the opportunity to work with superiors arises, it means that your company trusts you enough to give you additional responsibilities. This gives you space to showcase your skills and prove that you have the potential to be hired in the future.
Though you may be assigned tedious tasks that no one else has time to take on, or asked to pick up coffee or lunch a time or two, so long as your internship provides you the opportunity to experience work and learning opportunities in your desired field, it will go a long way in helping you know if this is a truly a career you would like to pursue. If you are shrewd in your assessment of internship descriptions, you’ll be able to land a spot at an office that values you and your work, and that will hopefully help you advance on your career path – especially if you have the right attitude and are able to take a step back and appreciate how your activities help your team accomplish their goals.