To intern or not to intern: is this internship right for you?

by Nov 18, 2019

While undertaking an internship is pretty vital to your career success, deciding which ones to apply for can be a bit confusing. To help you decide whether an internship opportunity is right for you, here’s a quick and easy checklist to help you decide!

Plus, if you read to the end you’ll discover how you could WIN a week’s worth of coffees on us!

1. Is it worth it?

The first step is asking the ‘WWW’ questions:

What will this internship teach you?

An internship should be designed to equip you with the skills you will need in your career. If you’re reading the position description and aren’t quite sure how the tasks and responsibilities outlined will help you develop your skills, this could be a red flag.

While some of the tasks may seem basic, there should also be a few mentioned that could help you develop your industry knowledge and advance your professional development. Ask yourself whether the internship looks like it will help you advance what you’ve learned in your degree, and start reaching your career goals.

Where could it lead?

While it may not lead to future work in the same company, will the internship give you experience in your field that you could call on to apply for roles in the future? Similar to the last question, this time you should be thinking about how you could leverage this internship experience in terms of your career more broadly. Will it give you key skills in an area or niche you want to advance in? Will it give you a broader understanding of your field so you can make more informed career choices in the future?

Who will it connect you with?

Professional networking is super important in a majority of industries, and can often lead to future opportunities.

Reading the advertisement, start thinking about the company offering the internship and any details about the team listed. Is the company renowned in your field? Is it a large or small business? Are there details about the team you would be working with that excites you? Does the team sound like one you’d like to work with? Doing some research on the company may be a good idea at this stage.

2. Is it legit?

Sometimes you may come across an internship that doesn’t feel quite right. Maybe the tasks outlined seem inappropriate for an internship, or could make you feel uncomfortable. If this is the case, chances are this is not the internship for you.

It’s also important to know whether the internship is paid or not. Some companies offer great perks like drinks on a Friday arvo, or wellness initiatives. While these are great, if the internship is unpaid, Fair Work states that it needs to be done ‘as a requirement of an education or training course. Likewise, if it is a paid internship it’s a good idea to look up the minimum wage requirements to ensure everything is above board before you apply.

Check out the UTS Student Guide to Internships for more detailed information for students, by students.

3. Is it supervised?

Having ongoing guidance throughout an internship has been shown to be hugely beneficial to those doing an internship or work experience placement. You need to be receiving feedback and having time to reflect on it so you can be building your skills and experience in a well-rounded way.

Read the job ad and see what it says regarding supervision, mentorship, guidance and feedback. If the ad is largely lacking any of these details it may be worth asking the employer who posted the job whether this support will be included in the internship.

4. Is it the right time?

Looking after yourself and your mental wellbeing is a hugely important aspect of a successful university experience. So, looking at the internship listing, how many hours per week will the position require? And do you feel like you can work those hours while studying and/or working?

Managing your time is a great skill to learn early on in your university journey, so use it here and decide whether now is the right time for an internship or whether you should hold out for a different opportunity over summer or during a quieter time of year for you and your commitments.

5. Test your internship knowledge to see if you’re ready (and WIN)

So you’ve got the basics down-pat, but are you ready to undertake an internship this summer? Test yourself with the UTS Careers interactive internship video to find out if you’re REALLY ready.

Plus, you could go in the running to WIN a week’s worth of morning coffees simply by playing the video and answering ONE question – too easy! Entries close 29 November 2019 so test your knowledge today.


tl;dr? Check this out

The internship website has a pretty comprehensive set of resources designed to support you during every stage of the internship process – from finding one, to getting support throughout, to voicing your concerns.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who ran the UTS Careers Blog for five years since its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.