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Which Internship Is Best for You?

Which Internship Is Best for You?

Peter Vogt MC Career Coach

December 02, 2009

“An experienced supervisor will provide interns with opportunities for learning and networking, assign projects that require independent responsibility and provide an honest and constructive critique of the intern’s work,” Tavera-Delgado says.

3. What Key Skills Will You Learn from the Internship?

This question is trickier than it sounds, for while it’s up to the internship organization and your supervisor there to give you the formal opportunity to build the essential skills you’ll need in your future career, it’s also up to you to create chances to build those skills, says Jerry Houser, director of the Career Development Center at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California.

“Ask the boss if you can attend extra meetings,” Houser says. “Ask if there’s a project you can help out with. Ask the manager if there’s an opportunity to do a presentation, help with a PowerPoint, sit in on a sales pitch or join the noon-hour Toastmasters club nearby. Almost any internship or job is a platform for students to practice and gain the experiences and skills they need to develop.”

But how do you know ahead of time which experiences and skills matter most? You can research job descriptions you find interesting using tools like MonsterTRAK’s entry-level job search. “Circle the skills and experiences each company wants,” Houser says. “Then seek opportunities to develop those skills during your internship.”

You won’t be able to accomplish everything, and you’ll almost certainly be saddled with some grunt work in any internship. But if you ask the right questions beforehand and uncover informed answers to them, you’ll find the internship that’s perfect for your future career.