Shoutout to the finance interns who understand portfolio diversification much better than I do! Here, we’re talking about diversifying a different kind of portfolio: your internship portfolio. This is a compilation of the work you’ve completed as an intern for one or several companies. It can be a formal, physical, or digital collection – or, it can be a more informal mental list. Either way, it’s helpful to have more than one type of internship experience to put on your resume and talk about during interviews. So, what are some major classifications of experience to consider?
Whether they planned to or not, many students have recently added a virtual internship to their portfolio. If you’re not one of them, don’t worry! As employers become more comfortable hosting interns virtually, more opportunities will become available. This is a valuable experience to have, especially as work continues to move home. At the same time, a traditional internship offers experience you can’t get from home. The nuances of office etiquette and hands-on work are best learned in person, which makes this type of internship something to seek as well.
The size of a company can have an impact on its culture, which is something to pay attention to as an intern. Larger companies tend to have more formal internship programs that include collaboration between interns. However, it’s typically easier for interns to develop relationships and feel a sense of ownership in smaller companies. Both sides of the scale have their tradeoffs, so it’s a good idea to try them both and learn what you like.
Also related to the company’s culture is whether it’s in the for-profit, nonprofit, or public sector. Even if you think you know which of these you want to work in after graduation, you will be a more versatile professional if you’ve had experience as an intern in more than one. You may even discover a passion for a line of work you hadn’t previously considered.
Depending on your field of study, you may have opportunities to intern in a variety of industries. Take those opportunities, even if they’re outside your comfort zone or not what you think you want to do long-term. You never know – you might realize you’re interested in an industry you hadn’t been exposed to before. If not, you’ve at least demonstrated your adaptability to new environments.
This is a part of some internship programs and not others. It depends mostly on whether or not the company hosts more than one intern, but there are also comparisons to be made between different company’s collaborative intern projects. It’s worth doing some research to find out which ones would be good learning experiences for you. If you can, complete at least one internship that gives you opportunities to collaborate with your peers and gain valuable teamwork experience.
Even if you only have experience as an intern for one company, you can still have a diverse portfolio of the actual tasks you’ve completed. This may require you to ask your supervisor for an assignment outside of the norm, but don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself when it comes to gaining a wide variety of experience! This will help you identify and hone your strengths.
Did you know that Indiana INTERNnet has an Advanced Internship Search to help you find a variety of internships for your portfolio? Get searching for your next internship today!