At this point, it probably seems like old news to tout the importance of getting an internship in the industry you’d like to work in. After all, most of us know that an internship can provide valuable experience and lead to a permanent, lucrative job down the line (not to mention important connections with powerful players). But, despite all of the benefits, sometimes people walk away feeling disatisfied (or even cheated). I’ve had a handful of writing gigs, and one editorial internship, so I’ve experienced myriad work places, and the things that may be contributing to a sour atmosphere. Here, I’m leaving you with one of the most important tips to know when searching for an internship: Never settle for something mediocre.
Before you get an internship, you have to look for one. Pretty obvious, right? Well, the key to getting the RIGHT internship is to build up your bullshit meter, so that you know a good opportunity from a bad one.
What are some easy indicators that an internship is probably more about grunt work than opportunity? Look for the following:
- It’s a new business, company, organization, etc…
- The contact person uses a personal email account.
- The company doesn’t have much in the way of social media
- The hiring agent doesn’t have a clear, detailed list of what your responsibilities would be, and how many hours you’d be expected to work.
So, who SHOULD you be looking for?
Even though new businesses sometimes thrive in a short period of time, it’s a safer bet to go with a longstanding company, like Penguin. It can generally offer greater benefits and incentives, and has the budget and staff to make available to you resources that wouldn’t be available otherwise.
If you find yourself unsure about whether to apply, based on the company’s qualifications, ask to speak with previous interns. The company’s ability to give you solid references shows professionalism and a dedication to its interns.