Before you start applying for internships, you need to think about the type of companies that you would like to consider interning for. Most people dream of interning at big companies like Google, Tesla, and NASA.
While there are many benefits of interning for a brand name company, there are also unique benefits of interning for a small company as well.
Prestige and Professional Recognition – One of the biggest benefits of interning for a big company is the prestige and professional recognition. Just like studying at a well-known school like Harvard or UCLA, interning at a big company like Google, can make your resume stand out to employers.
Hiring managers may look at your resume and be impressed that you interned at a big company, making you more competitive and respectable in the job market.
Your Internship Role Will be Structured and Clear – Large companies typically have structured internship programs for students. Your internship role, tasks, and responsibilities will be clear and defined.
Opportunity to Learn From Experienced Professionals – When you intern for a big company you will have the opportunity to work under experienced managers and directors. This may give you the chance to learn insights and perspectives from some of the best executives in the industry.
Harder to Get Hired at a Big Company – Many people want to work for Google, Apple, and Tesla. This competition makes it very hard to get hired for an internship with them. Google, for example, receives an estimated 3 million applications a year and offers 7000 jobs and internships. According to this data, Google only hires 0.2% of all applicants. The same goes for many other big companies.
Less Opportunity to Show Leadership and Initiative – At a big company, it might be more difficult to lead projects and your voice will be smaller at meetings. Big companies have more employees and executives. The responsibility to lead projects will be mainly assigned to managers and directors while interns assist them.
More Busy Work – Some interns that work for big companies complain that they feel that their role is strictly confined to certain tasks and work. For this reason, the tasks at big companies may seem more like “busy work” rather than something meaningful.
Less Flexibility – Usually, bigger companies have less flexibility in regards to wok hours and home office arrangements. Your internship schedule and work site may be strictly regulated, and it will be more difficult to ask for days off or to leave work early.
More Rules and Work Policies – The work that you do will be required to be completed in a certain way. Even if you have a better way of completing tasks, you may have to comply with the rules. Big companies also have strict work policies that you will have to follow.
Less Personal Relationships with Executive Staff and Employees – At a big company with lots of executives and employees, it can be hard to develop personal connections with people.
More Opportunity to Lead Projects and Have Your Ideas Heard – At smaller companies, you may have the opportunity to work on meaningful projects and see the direct impact of your work. Smaller companies have fewer employees, and your ideas, initiative, and creativity will be valued. This huge benefit often results in real-world experience and life lessons.
Good Relationships With Executives and Coworkers – You may be able to work directly with managers and directors, often resulting in good relationships. These strong connections can lead to valuable personal recommendations for future employment.
More Variety of Tasks and Flexibility – Smaller companies may provide you with opportunities to work on a variety of projects and engage with different departments. You will have your assigned role but also have the flexibility to explore different assignments that can expose you to a new field that you are interested in. Many companies value people who are capable of managing a variety of tasks, and a small company can provide you with cross-functional expertise.
The only negative of working for a small company is that you may not receive the prestige and recognition that you would get from interning at a brand-name company at first glance. But, as soon as you are given the opportunity to speak about your internship in-depth in a genuine and compassionate way, recruiters will very quickly see your potential for adding value to their team. So, the small size of a company is not a good enough reason to deter you from interning at that company.
As long as your internship company can present you with a challenging position that gives you the experience and insights into your prospective career field and industry, it does not matter whether you choose a small or large company – but be sure that the internship will be beneficial to your career and that you feel good about the organization.
Keep in mind, the idea of any internship is to find a good company and mentor in your field of study for your growth.