January 24, 2013

What’s Right for You: Intern at a Small or Big Company?

It might not feel like summer is around the corner with this crazy wind and chill, but it is. That means that it is about that time to start thinking about summer internships. We all know this, internships are incredibly important and can be the internshipkey to landing that first job. But sometimes what can be the biggest challenge is figuring out where you want to intern. Should your first internship be with a large company with hundreds of employees? Or would it serve you best to work for a “mom and pop” shop where you might be one of 5 employees. Both options offer pro’s and con’s and it is important weigh them against your personal career aspirations to determine what’s best for you.

Come Recommended  provides you with a great list of Pro’s & Con’s – Check them out!

Pros of Small Companies

Small companies can allow you to forge intimate relationships with those you work with, allowing for solid networking opportunities. Small companies often have a fast-paced environment, where decisions are made and quickly seen through to the end — at large companies, there may be more steps to go through before seeing the end result. In my experience, working for small companies has allowed me an opportunity for more hands-on experience and closer relationships with my bosses and coworkers. I’ve heard plenty of stories of interns snagging the internship at a big company, only to spend their days fetching coffee and working the copier. At a small company, you’re much more likely to be an integral part of the team.

Cons of Small Companies

Small companies can have less resources than large ones, and I’m not just talking about money. Bigger companies may have more up-to-date equipment and more connections to industry consultants and professionals. In addition, many college students worry about a lack of name recognition when it comes to putting a small company on their resume. Still, this isn’t wholly important to hiring managers, who are much more interested in the caliber of the work you’ve done rather than where you’ve done it.

Pros of Big Companies

Big companies offer a well-established company culture and can often have more well-established practices for completing tasks. This level of guidance can be beneficial for building your own skill set. In addition, big companies offer more opportunities to network with a variety of professionals (more employees to get coffee with!) and often offer more room for professional advancement or full-time employment (although small companies may offer you a more accessible arena in which to prove yourself to the boss).

Cons of Big Companies

At a big company, it can be difficult for an intern to feel as though they’re truly making an impact on the business as a whole. A small company can offer a better sense of fulfillment than a place with hundreds of employees completing tasks. Big companies also offer less flexibility than a small company, where you may have more opportunities to foster a work-life balance, including flexible hours and opportunities to work from home.

Needless to say, choosing the right company to intern with can be a tough decision for anyone. Luckily there are CPC Counselors  here to help you wade through your options – so come visit!

 

     

Steph Grejtak

 Assistant Director,  Career Planning Center

 

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