Finding good internships and avoiding scams

This particularly applies to media internships, where there are serial offenders producing pseudo internships which have all the glowing, unforgettable career credentials of low grade toilet paper. Trust nobody. Check out any media internship, thoroughly, unless it's a proven, known brand, big name internship.

Some basic pointers for selecting internships:

  • If you've never heard of the provider, and nor has anyone else, forget it. The best internships are based on real, comprehensive training programs, and have dedicated staff to assist. There's usually a training officer who manages them, they're well known in their industries, and the internships have a good record.
  • Too much hype is too much hype. Avoid anything that looks like a sales spiel, because it probably is one.
  • The internship provider should have a complete, structured program.
  • If not, move on immediately. They're either amateurs, or scammers.
  • Ask the internship provider about career paths. If the answers are vague or evasive, move on.
  • Ask about your duties and what you'll be doing, specifically. If this draws some sort of comment about general assistance, a range of various duties or any other undefined result, the experience probably won't be worth it.
  • Start looking for your internship long before you need it.
  • Don't make commitments until you actually need to make them.
  • Keep your options open, and go with the best internship you can find.

You owe it to yourself to get the best internship you can. You're spending a fortune on qualifications. The last thing you need on your resume is a Brand X internship which says, 'Made coffee, did photocopying.' It has happened, but it is avoidable.

The basic approach: Be patient, and be picky. It does pay off.