Saturday, May 18, 2013

Helpful Tips Before Applying To Any Internship

internship wordcloudIn today’s competitive job market, internships are most certainly a great way to get your foot in the
door, gain applicable work experience, and receive valuable mentorship from established professionals. With summer upcoming, summer internships offer a productive use of a school break. However, it’s important to take extra precautions to avoid falling prey at the hands of dubious companies taking advantage of both unsuspecting students and recent graduates. Read on for a helpful list of tips to follow which will help your internship application process.
  1. Before you scramble to fill out any application, make sure you do a comprehensive online search using “company name here + scam” as a general search inquiry. You will be surprised to see how this search term will narrow down the results for most fraudulent businesses, and show you everything beyond what the company itself actively puts out on the internet.
  2. social media tree
  3. If the company is fairly new, do a similar search on the company’s owners to make sure you will be working with qualified and reputable people in the industry.
  4. With the advent of social media, it has now become easier to track down existing employees of companies. Beyond contacting the higher-level executives, be sure to reach out to other interns and junior-level employees on Facebook and LinkedIn to get a genuine perspective of the pros and cons of the internship experience.
  5. Glassdoor has become a useful tool to gauge the highs and lows of a company from the insider perspective. Check to see what has been said by existing and former employees and interns so that you can get a feel of how the company treats its workers.
  6. Beyond seeing the employee perspective of a company, check to see its reputation amongst its consumer base. Look on Yelp, the Better Business Bureau page, and Ripoff Report to read reviews from former clients to see if the company has established a reputable image while operating in business. Looking into these resources will give you reputation management insight into how the company handles and responds to negative criticism.
After you do all these things and everything seems to check out, here are some things to look out for at the interview:

  1. Does the company have its business license displayed in a prominent location? Be cautious of local businesses that are incorporated or licensed out of state.
    * According to regulations in several states, companies are required to display their business licenses where people can see it. Check the laws of your specific state for business compliance regulations.
  2. Are the required federal and state labor law posters displayed in a visible location in the office; such as the break room, kitchen, or common area?
    * According to regulations in several states, companies are required by law to display labor law posters (minimum wage, worker’s compensation, what to do in an emergency etc.) in a noticeable area of the office.
  3. If applicable to your situation, ask to see examples of client work they have done in the past. Be wary of companies that seem to focus more of their efforts on self-promotion rather than client projects, as this is an indication of a lack of commitment towards its customers.
  4. Ask to clarify what the post-internship advancement opportunities are, if they exist. Post-internship employment is never guaranteed, but employers should always be clear about what the possibilities are. Steer clear of companies that aren’t upfront or vague about opportunities.

Finally, if you get accepted for the opportunity, make sure that your employer offers you specific details of the internship in writing such as a contract or typed-out offer letter. This way you always have specific documents to refer back to if any issues or complications arise.

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