An article on Inc. magazine’s website entitled, America’s Coolest Internships, recently caught my eye. It’s actually a series of articles for students seeking great internships and advice for employers on how to create a successful internship program and subsequently hire the top performers. We have had some great interns at Affect Strategies and after reading the article, I am glad to see that we are following some of the best practices for attracting and hiring new talent. However, many interns dream of an internship at one of the largest NY agencies to have a ‘great name’ on their resume. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all they get. (Oh, and some coffee and doughnuts for meetings.) I have always believed that working in a smaller agency exposes interns to more ‘real’ client work and will help them develop more on-the-job skills and train them for the professional world.
One of the articles, For the Smartest Interns, A Golden Opportunity, quotes Matthew Zinman, founder of the Internship Institute, an organization that provides employers with resources to implement successful internship programs. According to Zinman, “A lot of the top students are smart enough to know that they can get a better experience at a smaller company……. These students ask themselves, ‘Is it worth having a big company name on my resume versus what may be the greater opportunity with a smaller, less-known company on my resume?'”
Often young applicants forget that they should be interviewing the prospective employer as much as the employer should be interviewing them. Asking questions about the type of work you will be doing, who you’ll be working with, if you will have client work, writing assignments etc. can help an intern make a better decision and determine the real value of an internship above and beyond a name on a resume.