Finding the perfect internship to prepare you for the real world can be quite difficult. However, you can figure out which one among the many options best aligns with your goals and dreams by considering the questions below:
What is your objective?
When looking for an internship, you have to determine what you expectations are from it. Do you want to gain general knowledge on your chosen career? Do you have a particular skill set that you want to improve on? Make sure that you think about these things in order to find the best internship. Do not simply pick a company just because it is the most popular. Consider even the smaller businesses, especially if they are able to give you what you need to be good at what you want to do more than the others.
Is it a paid one?
It is much better to land a paid internship, especially if you are already struggling financially in college. Even though money is not everything, being able to receive some amount of money can help you in a lot of different ways. With that said, if money is not an issue at all, then go ahead and accept an unpaid position if you believe that the job will be able to provide all the knowledge and training that you need to become successful in your career.
Where is it located?
Do you plan to stay close to home after your graduation or do you want to move to a bigger urban area? Is walking a couple of kilometers to your office okay? Or, do you prefer a workplace that has easy access to public transportation? A steady 30 minute walk gives you the same exercise a rowing machine would (I use this one from Home Rower: http://www.homerower.com/concept2-model-d-rower/ ), so if I were to choose now I would go for a walking distance location.
Anyway, a good internship experience, regardless of its location, should help you become familiar with the lifestyle, cost of living, traffic, and other important day-to-day aspects of the town or city where it is located.
What skills do you expect to learn from it?
Internships should offer you more opportunities than making coffee or getting lunch for your bosses. A good company should give you the chance to sit in their meetings and seminars or participate in some projects. That way, you can gain and develop skills and knowledge that can help you prepare for the employment world once you graduate.
Can it help you build or expand your network?
It is important that you get the chance to interact and meet new professionals while you are interning, so that you will get lots of useful career advice. These people can also refer you to other good organizations and companies that can help you grow as a professional.