Real Questions to Ask Yourself Before Taking on an Internship

The internship is getting more attention lately, even though summer is a fading memory. While some think that it’s not important to think about the internship until the very last minute, you will sail ahead of the competition if you can put things together now instead of later. A good internship is truly worth its weight in gold. You just have to focus and be willing to make a quick move when the opportunity arises. But are you really ready to take on a new challenge? Let’s take a look.

Going for an internship in your field makes sense, because it sets the foundation for the career that you’ll build later. If you’ve been doing well in your subject related classes, you need to highlight that in your cover letter. Not just the grade, of course: you need to be able to speak well about what’s going on with your chosen topic.

Let’s go into some questions that you really need to ask yourself before you take on an internship.


1. Is this the field I can see myself retiring from?

Long term career planning isn’t perfect: careers take twists and turns. Sometimes the field that you love doing takes a radical shift in a direction that you didn’t wish to go in. If you love a field and you want to make a living from it, you have to look at how competitive it is. How likely is it that you’ll be able to get a job after graduation? Do you have to move on to graduate studies?

2. What can I personally bring to the table as a candidate?

This is an honest question, so a lot of people don’t wish to approach it. Instead of focusing on how nice you are, you need to instead focus on how effective you’re going to be. Just about anyone can be nice, so it’s really not as deeply valued as being effective. It’s obvious that effective people get things done, and business is always about completing a task. Without results, there’s no action.

3. What additional training will I need to perform my very best?

Think that your education is over once you graduate? We have some bad news for you: learning is never optional. You have to learn in order to grow your skills. You can’t do anything if you’re not willing to learn, grow, and keep yourself intellectually stimulated.

You may need additional certificates, depending on your chosen career. These do indeed cost money, but they help you raise your profile above others that aren’t willing to make the investment.

4. How can I improve the companies I work for?

Companies want to hire people that are going to give their best efforts. That sounds like a no brainer, but you might be surprised how many people show up to an internship with the expectation that they won’t have to work very hard! It’s absolutely shocking to see how many people fully believe that they don’t have to do anything other than just appear at the right time.

Instead of being yet another intern that seems annoyed by every little thing, strive to do what’s asked of you and then a little bit more on top. The more initiative that you take, the more likely it is that you’ll have a positive impact on the people around you. They will want to recommend you and hire you for the internship.

If you’re looking around for internships, you need to consider the possibility of working with a company and then be able to talk to them about it. Having a proposal in mind for your summer can help interviewers see that you’re really excited about becoming part of the team, if only for a little bit.

5. How can I make an impact on the field as a whole?

Contributing to online journals, newsletters, and other sources will indeed help you grow your reputation in the field. Simply put, people want to help people that are already in motion. It can be hard to bypass the “no experience” part, but that’s when you lean on your research skills. They’re not just good for the classroom. You need to always think about how the information you learn now can benefit your career in the future.

Giving back also feels very rewarding, like you’re making a real impact in the world.

There are plenty of questions to ask yourself if you’re going to pursue an internship. Some questions are going to be naturally a bit superficial, but there are many questions that will help you refine your interests and come out better in the long run.