on MAY 8, 2013
Internships are a fantastic way to gain valuable work experience – especially if you decide to intern abroad. However, before you accept an offer, my colleagues and I at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau in the United Kingdom recommend you consider these five crucial factors before accepting your place.
Is the content of your internship relevant to the career path you ultimately want to pursue? While varied work experience can be an asset, if you have spent months doing an unrelated placement, employers may question your commitment to an industry. It is worth spending the time seeking the internship that is best suited to your plans, rather than just accepting any offer. If you do decide to follow a career that yourinternship wasn’t specifically related to, make sure you can connect what you learned from it to your career goals.
Make sure you research where you will be placed before you apply and accept. How will you commute? How long will your journey be? Do you have friends or relatives to stay with or will you have to find housing? For international internships, you will need to make sure you have all the necessary documents (such as a green card or visa). Think about where you want your internship to be – close to home or in the big, wide world – and then accept accordingly.
Some internships are paid. However, some aren’t. Unpaid internships shouldn’t be ruled out,though; the opportunities and experience you can gain from an unpaid placement can be just as good as the more financially rewarding opportunities. Sometimes a company won’t pay you wages but will offer financial reimbursement for expenditures. See what the company offers before you accept the internship. If it isn’tpaid, ask yourself, ‘Will I be able to cover my expenses?’
How long do you want to spend on one internship? Some can be up to a year-long and form part of your degree program. However, if you are looking for an internship for just over the holidays, they may vary considerably in length.
Exactly what will you be doing during your time at the internship? You need to know more than just what department you will be working in – ask what sorts of tasks and responsibilities you will have.