As exciting as it is to receive the offer, there are some important questions to ask before accepting an internship. The process of applying for and being accepted on to an internship is something that can take a lot of time and be very stressful for you. Internships are the building blocks on your way to a dream career in many cases, so they are something to be taken extremely seriously. However, if you are lucky enough to be offered an internship at a certain place, something that you also need to think about is whether the fit is actually right for you. Don’t make the mistake of accepting something that you think is the right thing to do, especially if your gut is telling you otherwise. Here are five important questions that you should ask before accepting an internship.
1. Is It Legal?
You would be amazed at just how many legitimate and big-name companies offer internships that are actually deemed illegal by the U.S. Department of Labor. An unpaid internship has to meet a lot of other requirements to be legal, because you are essentially doing an important job for free. Basically, if you are going a job that is making a significant difference to the company, one that you are noticing others around you are being recompensed for, then it is probably illegal.
2. What Will the Workload Be?
Make sure that you are aware of what the workload will be before you accept the position. You want to be gaining a fair amount of experience, but at the same time you do not want to be taken advantage of. Make sure that you get a full run down of your expected responsibilities, and you will be able to recognize when things might be taking a turn towards you being overworked and undervalued.
3. What Are the Hours?
Get it straight early on what your hours are going to be, because in many cases it is often the interns who are encouraged to stay after work and get things done while all of the paid employees get to go home. You also need to make sure that the hours you are working are going to fit with your ongoing academic commitments. It isn’t worth busting your ass on an unpaid job only to fail your exams.
4. How Will You Be Treated?
We all deserve to be treated well by our employers, especially when they are not paying you for the privilege of your work. Nobody wants to work in a Devil Wears Prada environment, so ask the simple question of how you are going to be treated, and they will know that you are someone who isn’t going to be vulnerable to bad attitudes.
5. Is It Worth It?
This is a question to ask yourself. Is the internship being offered something that is going to really further your career prospects? If yes, then take it, but if not, then it might not be worth sacrificing focus on your studies, just so you can say you have been an intern somewhere.