Internships: Quantity or Quality?

In this job market, college students and new grads are always looking for ways to stand out, and it’s well known the best way to do so is through internships. As a college student or recent grad, you may be faced with the question, “What looks better to hiring managers; taking on several short-term internships, or spending a lot of time at one internship?” All internships are beneficial, but there are plusses and minuses to both sides of this internship quantity vs. quality argument:

Quantity

Pros
If you decide to take on more internships, you will benefit in several ways, but the most obvious is gaining a diverse experience within your field. Taking on several internships gives you the freedom to explore and practice different areas within your field, ultimately helping you discover new passions and getting a better idea of where you want your career to go. You will also get to meet and work with many different professionals, resulting in more connections to your future employer. In addition, having several supervisors will give you a variety of good references to choose from while on your full time job hunt.

Cons
With more internships, there’s a possibility you could spread yourself too thin – especially if you try to hold more than one simultaneously. This could directly affect your performance. Furthermore, some employers prefer candidates who have shown loyalty by spending more time at one organization, rather than spending less time at more organizations; you could be seen as a job hopper.

Quality

Pros
It’s well known that most internship extensions are usually given to only the best interns, so if you’re offered an extension, it will show future employers the company liked you well enough to keep you around. Spending more time at one place gives you more opportunity to shine and impress your supervisor, which could even lead you to a full-time job with that organization. You will also establish a deeper, more trusting relationship with your colleagues.

Cons
By limiting your number of internships, you might not have a broad range of experience within your field. Although you will have specialized focus on one area, some employers like to see candidates who are well-rounded. These days, being more marketable can sometimes mean having a range of experience.

Regardless of what side of the argument you lean toward, any and every internship is a great opportunity. Not only will you gain experience, internships will help you reach goals, network with professionals and get your foot in the door of a company.

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