As college students, searching and applying for internships is something we have pretty much had to adopt as a new hobby. We find certain job searching websites that are easiest to use. We learn all the ins and outs of networking to find killer positions. And we also grow accustomed to looking at the requirements that go along with each job description. "Must have: prior internship experience, be a junior or senior in college, work well in a team, be proficient in Excel, have detailed writing skills," and the list goes on and on. We are familiar with the fact that each company has different things that they look for in an intern. But, wouldn't it be nice if the companies were familiar with what we college students look for in an internship?
After some thought and asking around to some of my friends, I composed a list of things I saw coming up repeatedly that college students search for in an internship.
As many of us have had to learn, it's all about "who you know." I have learned this first hand and it's actually pretty cool to see how it plays out. The more experience we have, the more connections we make, and the more opportunities we have for the future.
2. Experience in different aspects of your industry
Sure, we want to have an internship experience in our area of study to put on our resume. But, we want more than that. We want to learn the ins and outs of the industry. We want to soak up every possible piece of knowledge imaginable.
Let's be real. We don't expect it, but when you are a broke college student, some kind of compensation is always a plus. It makes us feel like we are out in the real world doing big kid stuff. It is especially nice to have some kind of hourly pay or stipend when we are interning in a city far from home.
No, not so we can go to music festivals every weekend. Different schools usually have different start and end dates so it is nice to work for a company that is willing to keep that in mind when hiring interns. Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of internship programs run through the summer and there may be events planned far in advance such as family weddings, vacations, or even a program for school during that time. A company who is understanding of these things is super helpful.
5. Good mentorship
Your leadership can make or break your work experience. Having a person to look up to who is respectful, easy to talk to, a good listener, and gives helpful advice can make your work much more enjoyable and productive.
6. A comfortable environment
Along with a good mentor, college students look for a working environment where they can be comfortable enough to learn from their mistakes in a nonjudgmental environment. They seek constructive criticism and support from their coworkers.
7. Good location
College is the perfect time to explore, so of course a good location is key. Why not try out a new place while we are young? Exploring a cool city during our college years is the perfect time to do it.
8. Friendly coworkers
#SquadGoals on fleek, am I right? Coming into any new job is scary. But we can only hope the people are friendly and accepting enough to make the beginning of our journey enjoyable. A lot of college students seek an internship program where the interns work together on projects. Sometimes, we like to know there are other people there that are our age and on the same page as us.
9. Chance for self-exploration
With any new experience comes some kind of lesson. Maybe we will find out marine biology isn't for us. Maybe we will decide we want to pursue a career in fashion instead. But, we might just find out the career path we are on is exactly where we should be.
10. A deeper knowledge of your desired field
We've seen and heard horror stories about doing internships where we just do the dirty work like fetching coffee and cleaning up after our bosses. Now we know most of that happens in movies. Overall, we want to walk away feeling like we have one step in the door. We want to take away something for ourselves as well as make a difference with the company.
11. The opportunity to form lasting relationships
As far as connections go, we want to do the best that we can at our internship so we know we always have someone to refer back to as a resource.Being an intern is exciting for us because it is our trial run at the real world. It is a way we can apply ourselves to our field of study and test our abilities at the job. We want to take away just as much from the position as the company wants to receive from us. However, being hard-working college students also seeking the complete experience, we have a few things we look for during our time as an intern.