Where Everyone Knows Your Name: The Benefits of Interning for a Small Business
I can’t tell you my boss’s Starbucks order. However, I can tell you that he always buys Breakfast Blend K-Cups for the office kitchen. And, yes, the K-Cups are, as well as the sugar and everything else in the kitchen that’s coffee-related, up for grabs. Not having to deliver my boss’s coffee may seem like a small detail, but it’s just one of the many benefits of interning with a small company.
Bigger isn’t always better
I know what it’s like to look at websites for that huge company in your field that you’ve dreamed of working for all your life. To see all of their international offices and the well-known clients that they represent is impressive, but I also know what it’s like to send them your resume and never even get a reply. I’m from New York, and it wasn’t until I started searching for work outside of New York City and landed my internship here that I realized I was doing it wrong the whole time. So, if you’ve been struggling to land an internship at some multibillion-dollar company, you might want to consider trying a different route.
My picture is on the website
Maybe I’m not exactly famous, but it’s a pretty good feeling to be recognized. I’m a 19-year-old content marketing intern, which is not a cover-up title for going on coffee runs and making photocopies. I intern at a small marketing company in Tallahassee, Fla. I write blogs and work closely with the social media strategies of our clients.
Everyone here knows my name. That probably seems crazy to even mention, but being from New York, this office is a huge transition from the massive, corporate, skyscraper offices with hundreds of employees that I have seen my whole life. Fiore Communications has a relatively small office space, with only seven employees (myself and another intern included.)
Why does interning at a small company rock?
Better experience. Odds are good that your to-do list will be an extension of the other employees’, so your tasks will range widely.
More individual attention. This means that all of your work will be individually critiqued and you’ll be able to get the constructive criticism (as well as the credit and appreciation) that will better your work in the future.
Friendly environment. With a small number of employees, the atmosphere can be much more light-hearted and welcoming. And odds are pretty slim that everyone will sing happy birthday to you in a big company!
Explore your skills and figure out what you love. Along with that wide range of tasks that you’ll be assigned comes an understanding of what you’re really good at doing, in addition to what you might need some more work on. This also opens the opportunity to decipher between which areas of your field interest you most, because, after all, internships aren’t permanent!
Having actual input. It’s pretty easy to feel relevant when the decisions that you make actually matter. When you’re not doing menial work, everything you do directly affects the company as well as its clients.
If working for a small company isn’t your ultimate goal, that’s OK. It’s a great way to test out your options, and it will help you gain experience and possibly score a position at your dream company in the future. And, let’s face it, knowing how many sugars each employee takes in their coffee isn’t the kind of experience anyone needs.