Finding an internship you love might sound daunting. How do you know if you’ll love a job before you even set foot in the office? There are initial factors to take into consideration, such as job description, compensation, and benefits. We encourage you to go a step further and ask yourself “does this opportunity offer me the chance to do meaningful work, grow professionally, and have fun – while also getting paid?” Asking these questions can help you find the internship you will love.
Be Passionate about your Work
Internships are designed to help you develop professionally and discover what truly interests you. Identifying the right questions will help you select the best fit for your skills, interests, and passions. Take a look at what employees have to say about their organization, and apply to companies that match your values and career goals. Ask yourself the following questions as you compare potential opportunities:
- What are the values of the company, and do they align with my values?
- Do the goals of the job sound interesting to me?
- Am I both passionate and skilled at the work I’ll be doing?
When candidates go through Radio Flyer’s interview process, we take the time to get to know them, both personally and professionally. During our process, candidates are given a letter from our Chief Wagon Officer, Robert Pasin, encouraging them not to accept our internship if they don’t believe it will be "the best internship experience they’ve ever had!"
Additionally, we offer post-graduate internships to students within one year of graduation. This gives recent graduates the opportunity to try out our industry and work environment, to see if it is a long-term fit before committing to a full-time role.
When you find an internship you are passionate about, you will dive into the work with joy. Day-to-day tasks will energize you, especially when working at a company that aligns with your values. When the work is interesting, it will motivate you to go above and beyond your assigned tasks to make a significant impact in your role, all while helping the company achieve its mission.
A best-in-class internship will provide a structure to help you stretch yourself. You want to know your internship is invested in learning. Look at the educational benefits provided to interns, whether it be challenging goals and projects, a department rotational program, or shadowing full-time employees. Ask yourself these questions as you assess an internship:
- Will I have the opportunity to master something or learn something new?
- Are there opportunities to contribute my ideas?
- Are the tasks and projects both challenging and engaging?
During Radio Flyer’s 12-week internship program, interns identify a skill they would like to develop and shape this into a professional development goal. Additionally, interns have individualized project goals that are aligned with our company’s overall business goals. Through these goals and regular department updates at monthly company business meetings, every Radio Flyer intern can clearly see how their work impacts the overall business.
Get Paid to Play
When collaboration is high, your work feels like play. We all strive to find a job where we love coming in to work every day, and an internship shouldn’t be any different! A great company culture, made up of collaborative people, is a large part of what keeps employees at an organization. To aid your decision-making process, you should learn what kind of team-building opportunities and social events are offered for interns at your company of choice. Ask yourself:
- Am I energized to start working with the people I met?
- Do I have an opportunity to build relationships at all levels?
- Do I see possibilities to have fun during my experience with this company?
Internships allow you to develop relationships with peers and leaders in the company as you grow your professional network. Radio Flyer provides the opportunity for interns to build those relationships in many ways. We start our summers with an Intern Welcome Breakfast, offer a course about networking and developing LinkedIn profiles, and foster a collaborative environment allowing everyone to mingle with all employees, who we call “Flyers,” throughout each day. Our Radio Café is the perfect open space for these informal conversations, scheduled meetings, and our communal lunches.
We recognize how important it is for interns and Flyers to get to know each other outside of projects and tasks. At Radio Flyer, we gather for monthly social hours to do just that! Our interns also take part in Active Challenges organized by our Wellness Committee. This year we had a bags (cornhole) tournament during lunch in our beautiful outdoor space.
Another way to feel good about your internship choice is to work for a company that is passionate about giving back. At Radio Flyer, we have a committee called the Smile Squad, whose mission is to positively impact and enrich the lives of Flyers, the community, and children in need. Our Flyers participate in monthly “Smile Days” to invest in long-term relationships with organizations and give back to our community year-round.
Internships are all about finding something that fits your needs personally and professionally. It is important to explore your options and find the best internship you’ve ever had! When you take the time to ask questions about what matters most to you in your next internship, you can appropriately weigh your options. Once you’re able to answer “YES!” to the question ‘Will I be able to work, grow and play?’, you will know you’ve found an internship you’ll love.
This post was sponsored by Radio Flyer, No. 3 on Vault's 2020 rankings of the Best Retail & Consumer Products Internships.
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