6 Questions To Ask Before You Start An Internship | Bookbyte

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6 Questions To Ask Before You Start An Internship

Not all internships are created equal. Here are the 6 questions you need to ask yourself to make sure an internship is right for you.

6. Test-Drive or Foot-In-Door?

You should determine which type of internship you want before you start your search: test drive or foot-in-door.

Test-drive internships are a great way to try out your major. If you aren't sure marketing is really for you, get a marketing internship and imagine doing that all day, every day for years. If that thought makes you want to cry, it might be time to change your major. Test-drive internships are also a great way to find out what you want to major in if you're undecided.

Foot-in-door internships get you close to a company you are eager to work for after graduation. It's a chance to network, meet the hiring manager, and show off your skills. Most companies are interested in hiring someone they know, as opposed to a total unknown. Foot-in-door internships are generally a bit more competitive, but if you are committed to both your degree and that company, they are extremely worth it.

5. What's In It for Me?

Internships ought to be mutually beneficial for you and the company you want to intern at. They get cheap labor and a chance to sample new talent, and you get job experience and a line on your resume. Before you start though, ask yourself how having this particular internship on your resume will help you get a job.

Personally, I got this job at Bookbyte because I had five different writing internships across multiple businesses while I was in school. It made me look accomplished, able to handle a lot, and it gave me a lot of skills other people didn't have.

You, on the other hand, might want to focus exclusively on a single high-profile internship or try out multiple different positions within one company. Determine what job you want to get after graduation and how your next internship is going to help you get it.

4. Where's the Money?

Most companies don't want you to believe this, but interns do deserve to get paid. You are working at an internship, and you deserve to be compensated with something besides "experience" or "exposure." In most states, it's not even legal to offer an unpaid internship. As a noobie intern, you probably won't make more than minimum wage, but that's okay for now.

If you get offered a really nice unpaid internship by a company you really really want to work for, you need to take a long, hard look at the company. If you determine to answer the rest of these questions and still decide an unpaid internship is for you, best of luck.

Unpaid internships aren't always evil, but they hang out with evil on the weekends. Steer clear if at all possible.

3. Collar or Casual?

What kind of company culture do you want to work in? Do you want to be in a cubicle farm wearing a collared shirt every day? Do you want to work for a startup where anything fancier than jeans and a slouchy hat is a faux pas?

As an intern, you have an opportunity to try out these different cultures and see what fits you best. If you find you absolutely love suiting up every morning, you've just made your post-college job searching that much easier.

2. What's At the Mountaintop?

Ask yourself what the perfect conclusion to your internship would be. You want to work on that high-profile case, or make the front page of the magazine, or run that experiment by yourself? Now that you know what your mountaintop is, start the climb. Make it known from day one what you want to get out of the internship. It'll make you look ambitious and it'll give your employer an idea of what to teach you.

You're probably going to start out taking notes and being confused and afraid, but once you get the hang of things, you'll be given more responsibility and a chance to reach for that tippy-top goal.

1. How Do I Look?

Ultimately, the reason you're doing an internship is you want job experience. So, if this internship were on a resume, how would you look to a potential employer? If you're interning at Disney and you want to work for Disney, your resume is going to look spectacular. If you're interning at 7-11 and you want to work for the Saudi Arabian Embassy, you might be stretching things a bit.

Consider your internship from the perspective of a potential employer to determine if you should commit, or keep looking for something that'll better meet your needs.