Freshman Five: Before Starting the Internship Hunt

To my understanding, this can apply to many different majors, but already from experience I can tell you this definitely applies for Business majors: internships. In the future I'll be posting some tips about how to get an internship, but first, let's talk about something not many people think about: what you need to think about before you begin actively seeking an internship!

Do You Have Time? // In my opinion, this is the very first and most important question you need to ask yourself! When you're a super busy bee, you have to rely heavily on your organizational and time management skills. Even if you're a pro at juggling, it is super super SUPER important that you think long and hard about the amount of time you have to devote to an internship. Some internships are really flexible as long as you can put in part-time hours, while others are very rigid. Figure out how much time you have to devote and commit yourself to that time limit. Remember: you are a student first, and an intern second. Once your grades start to suffer, you need to re-evaluate if the internship is really worth it.

Why Do You Want An Internship? // Everyone says you should want one. Everyone says you need one. But do you understand why? Internships are a great way to hone some skills and put real-world experience on your resume - if you know what it's like to put in hours and do hard work efficiently, you're already looking better in a potential employer's eyes. However, a caveat to this is that you need to think about your major and talk to counselors and upperclassmen. I came into college expecting I was supposed to have an accounting internship by second semester - it turns out, "real" accounting internships aren't given out until the summer after your junior year because those internships require certain skills you don't learn until junior year. It's okay if people start talking about internships while you're just starting college, but that doesn't mean you have to rush yourself into getting one!

Where Do You Want to Intern? // For most people, the dream internship is at a huge company that will give you oodles of experience and potentially open up the door for a corner-office job once you graduate from college. Cue funny gif of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Unfortunately, those internships are very far and few between (that is, if they even exist!). The ugly truth is that a large portion of internships are grunt work - they can be a bit rough, they can be paid or unpaid, and you're not always going to have the most stellar work environment. But that's okay! If you're prepared to deal with this possibility, then go on right ahead and start looking for an internship.

What Are Your Expectations? // Keeping an open-mind as to where you'll work is really important in the internship-hunting process. I mentioned this a little earlier, but what do you expect in the internship? Flexible hours? Paid or unpaid? Desk work or street work? Are you expecting to gain skills that will help you later on in your career or are you just trying to add something to your resume? Will this opportunity open up more for you in the future? Essentially, just think about what you expect from the internship. Don't go looking for BigFoot when you have no idea what he looks like! It's nice to mention to potential employers that you're open-minded, but don't give them a license to take advantage of you because you don't know what you want or what you expect.

Think About Yourself First // Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you want - these are just some tips on things I suggest you consider before starting the search process. I'm only in the second semester of my freshman year and I have heard people stress over not finding an internship/worrying when to find an internship/wondering if they should be joining clubs instead. There's no need to rush through college - this is the perfect time to discover other interests and meet new people. If you had to choose between a potential internship and finding a new hobby that you absolutely love, are you prepared to give up what time you have to cultivate that new interest to go work? Remember that companies often look for well-rounded people to employ and diving into working too soon may prevent you from having fun and learning more about yourself.

Are you currently in college and looking for an internship? If you are already in the working world, when did you start looking for one? I'd love to hear your stories below!

Catch you next time.


  1. LOVE these tips! I'm going to be a freshman this fall to double major in marketing and communications, so these tips will definitely come in handy for me.


  2. Great tips! When I was in university I interned just about anywhere that would have me which seemed like a good idea, but when it came time to put together my resume I realized a lot of the places weren't very highly thought of or had nothing to do with the jobs I was seeking.

  3. These are all great internship tips. I'm currently a sophomore, and applying for internships this past year has been super difficult. I totally understand what you mean about getting a "real" internship. A lot of the ones I have found and applied for wanted more experience than I was able to offer as a sophomore. Many of them want juniors because they have already taken the necessary classes to provide them with the skills for the internship.

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss

  4. These are all really great tips!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls


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