7 things you need to consider before starting an internship

Hristina Ivanova
April 18, 2019

It is Monday and a fresh start in a company as an intern is waiting for you. A mix of feelings, excitement, stress, fear… Being on time is a MUST so no need to mention it for the hundredth time. Here are 7 things you need to consider before starting an internship in a company:


1.How important is this to you?

Is it something you really want or just out of sheer boredom? It would be great to know where will this take you and how will it help for your professional life. Even if it is not in your field of study, a major change in career would be a great option. It takes a little sacrifice but it will pay off in the future. There will be no or little money but it is the gained skills that are worth. Realize which skills you already possess and which would you like to earn during the internship and start working on it.


2.What are you getting into?

No matter if you are entering a large company or local shop, you need to find out what is the work atmosphere like. Comments on what is like to work for a certain company can be found online by current and former employees. On the other hand, if you are starting in а local workplace, ask someone who worked there. If possible, make sure you get more than two opinions so that you know it is not tendentious. The environment is the most important factor when working. No one wants to work in a dysfunctional work environment.


3.Look up the company & learn more about it.

If you have an interview in a couple of days, make sure you learn more about the company. Who are the key players (CEO, manager and department directors), what is the company’s mission, which services do they offer, who are their clients and the most important for you, what skills do they look for when hiring someone? Most of this information can be found on their website or LinkedIn, which is extremely useful for finding the individuals who hold important positions in the company. Extra tip when collecting all this information is to check the company’s latest events and news so you leave an impression that you know what they have been up to.

Another important thing to find out is the dress code of the company. I hardly believe you can find that somewhere online so do not hesitate to contact your mentor via email. Just write a brief message about the dress code of the office and it will be easier for you to make your wardrobe internship ready.


4.Your responsibilities

“What will my responsibilities be if I get this internship?” is the question that will save you time and energy. It is great to know what you’ll be doing during the internship instead of wandering out in space. Ask questions, don’t be scared. It is better for you and your working to know your tasks and give 100% than to start all over again. Every internship includes duties that you need to know in advance and to carry out them conscientiously.


5.It’s not what you know, but who you know

A new environment means new people. Different personalities, looks and behavior. Talk with them, ask for help if you need but also be helpful. Having good relationships with your co-workers will make the work more bearable and efficient. Talk on various subjects like hobbies, interests, languages. Every person can teach you something and give you inspiration. Hang out with them after work hours, get to know them. Those are the people that are staying for life and you can’t know who can bring you the next project (or even better, a job). People always choose to work with someone who already was on their team rather than with someone they have no history with.

In the context of working with other people, be prepared for a team play. Get ready and adapt to new situations, communicate with the co-workers, ensure them that you are a reliable and dedicated person.


6.Paid or unpaid internship

Internships are valuable, no matter if they are paid or not. All internships are vital. It is an opportunity to gain experience. But is good to know that most of the unpaid internships are illegal. Feel free to ask what is your compensation or if there is none, ask the employer if they can cover the transportation cost at least. Usually, freshmen and sophomores accept unpaid internship because they need experience in a certain field. But if you are a senior I’d recommend looking for a paid internship that might bring you a job offer. It is up to you, but I still think no one wants to work for zero money.


7. Length of the internship

There is no fully correct answer on this subject. Depending on the country, the length of the internship is regulated with the law and it is different. A number of factors are taken into consideration when deciding on the length of the internship. It can be semester length, summer length, year length, etc. It can be part-time (5 to 20 hours a week) or full-time (40 hours a week). So in my opinion, if you want to get into the rhythm of the position that you are interning for, it is best to attend the internship around 3 months (if you work 35 to 40 hours per week) or 6 months if it is part-time. Most of the companies aspire to provide a full-time internship that lasts up to 3 months. Before accepting the internship, do not get too overwhelmed about this. Every day is a chance to learn something new.


Choosing an internship while in college is an important decision. It will bring you the best memories, skills, and experience. If this boosts your motivation, 60% of the internships turn into job offers so I would recommend taking an internship as early as you can in order to learn as much as possible. So make sure you choose the right and have these 7 things into consideration before starting an internship. Fingers crossed!