What do you look for in an internship? If you’re being strategic, probably a combination of skills development, networking potential, and prestige. The whole point of internships is to get your foot in the door … and make sure you know what you’re doing when you get there.
To compile its annual ranking of the best internships, Vault.com surveyed more than 8,500 current and former interns from over 100 top companies. Respondents were asked to rate their experience interning for these employers on a scale of 1 to 10. They were also asked to rank the prestige of the employers with which they were familiar, to determine a list of the internships people most want on their resumes.
Note that prestige is far from the only — or even best — way to choose an internship. Vault.com’s list of the 50 best internships overall has little overlap with its list of most prestigious internships. Still, there’s something to be said for a brand-name. At the very least, working at one of these companies will help you get calls back from hiring managers after graduation.
- Goldman Sachs
- Tesla Motors
- P. Morgan
- The Walt Disney Company
- Morgan Stanley
Beyond Prestige: Focus on the Skills That Get You Hired — and Paid
Whether or not you decide to target brand-name employers, one of your goals should be to make sure that your internship will help you develop the skills you need to get your career started off right.
PayScale’s report, Leveling Up: How to Win in the Skills Economy, shows that building your skillset can pay off. For example, if you’re in a computer or mathematical occupation, learning Go or Scala could boost your pay by more than 20 percent, while someone in a community or social service occupation would do well to learn utilization review or strategic planning, each of which are associated with more than a 15 percent increase in pay.
The premium for specific skillsets can rise and fall pretty quickly, too: PayScale’s research shows that technology workers saw a 20.1 percent increase in pay from knowing Django in June 2016, 7.3 percent more than six months earlier. On the other hand, Apple Xcode’s value as a compensation-booster fell 6.6 percent over the same time period.
And, don’t forget the less technical hard and soft skills. When asked which skills recent grads lack, managers listed writing proficiency, public speaking, and critical thinking above industry-specific software skills. So if you’re boning up on programming languages, don’t forget to focus on communicating in human languages as well.
What should your target salary be, after graduation? Find out with your free salary report from PayScale.
Tell Us What You Think
Did you look for a “brand-name” employer when you applied for internships? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments, or join the conversation on Twitter.