How to decide if a professional opportunity is right for you

It’s not always easy to decide if a professional opportunity is right for you. It’s important to consider all the different aspects of an internship, and what value they’ll bring to your career goals. To help your decision making, check out these 9 questions to ask yourself to decide if a professional opportunity is right for you.

 

1. Will I learn from this opportunity?

Professional growth should always be a priority. Make sure that you’re taking on positions that are challenging you in some way or teaching you something new. Whether it’s learning a new technical skill, or simply just learning more about how certain office environments function, an internship abroad is the perfect way to test the waters and learn more about a field you’re interested in.

 

2. What will I be doing on a daily basis?

Think about the day-to-day aspects of this opportunity or job. What will you be doing exactly and what skills does that require. Be realistic about your skillset and what motivates you. Remember that everyone had to start somewhere, and that people who are now CEOs were likely in your shoes once upon a time. Sometimes one of the best parts of an internship is learning a new skill that didn’t interest you at first glance.

decide if a professional opportunity is right

 

3. How will this job or internship help me accomplish my professional goals?

Whenever you’re considering an opportunity, have your long-term professional goals in mind. If this is something that will put you further along the path towards success – go for it. Any internship will be helpful in showing you either what you want, or don’t want with regards to your future plans.

 

4. Will I fit in with the office culture?

Each office operates and interacts differently. Some offices are noisy, with less structure and more freedom. Others are quiet and focused on efficiency. The interview process is a great way to ask questions about the office environment and vibe, to learn about if this is a good match for you.

 

5. Am I under-qualified for this opportunity?

So you’ve found your dream internship, but feel like your skill set isn’t entirely there yet. Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Apply and make your enthusiasm to learn shine through in your cover letter. Employers love to see applicants who want to grow. 

 

6. Will this opportunity get in the way of other things I want to do?

Deciding between spending a summer with your friends, or interning abroad can be a tough decision to make. To make this process easier for you, it’s good to think of your return on investment. Sure a summer at home with your friends will give you amazing memories, but so will an internship abroad, while also boosting your resume. 

 

decide if a professional opportunity is right

 

7. Do I believe in the organization?

You’ll always work harder if you believe in the organization you’re working for. Companies like their employees or interns to be excited about where they work. It’s good for morale, productivity and loyalty. If you feel like you might have a moral or other type of conflict with the work you’ll be doing, don’t take the job. Similarly, believing in an organization will make it easier to decide if a professional opportunity is right.

 

8. Can I afford it?

Taking a pay cut in the short term can end up leading to better job opportunities in the future, but it’s important to budget wisely for that kind of investment in your career. There are also tons of ways to save money as an intern. A few common ways to save include cooking at home instead of going out, biking or walking instead of using public transit, and having a movie night with fellow interns at your apartment instead of going out to the movies.

 

9. Will I enjoy life outside the office?

A job is always more than a job. Think about where you’ll be living, the commute, how much stress the job will cause… all these things will affect your overall lifestyle and happiness and are important to consider when you’re looking at different professional opportunities. An internship abroad is a great way to expand your friend group while making memories outside of work in a fun city overseas.

 

Now that you know how to decide if a professional opportunity is right for you, learn more about how to boost your career with an internship abroad.

 

Photos:

1. based on 2017 Detroit career exploration trip and reception, by Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan, CC-by-ND 2.0

2. based on Stress, by Abie Sudiono, CC-by-2.0

3. based on Madrid, Spain, by Rick Ligthelm, CC-by-2.0

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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