How To Navigate Multiple Internship Offers

By: Zachary Jones, Event Planning Committee Member

businesswoman with a note-book

As a college student, one of the best ways to grow your resume and gain experience is through an internship. Not only is it a great way for you to test drive your career before taking to the road, but also more and more employers are looking for candidates with a lot of experience in their respective fields right out of college.

The internship process can sometimes be tough though. I learned this for the first time last summer while searching for an internship this past fall. Many blog posts and sites offer tips to beating the application and interview process, but one thing I was not prepared for was dealing with multiple internship offers.

If you have multiple internship offers, congratulations! You’ve completed the process with skill and now the ball is finally in your court. Here are four tips I learned for moving towards a decision:

1. Say thanks and ask for a decision deadline

When I got my first offer I was extremely elated and excited, but I knew I had also done a few other interviews that I wanted to hear back from as well. I found myself wanting to accept the offer out of fear that I wouldn’t receive another offer, not because I actually really wanted to accept that offer over the other potential offers. The best thing you can do is to send an email thanking them for the offer, and express your excitement in being able to work for their organization. At the same time, express to them that you have completed other interviews and while you are thankful for the offer you would like to follow up on those interviews in order to make the best decision. Ask for a decision deadline. Most organizations are understanding and if they really want you, will grant you at least a few days to follow up on the others.

2. Follow up your interviews fast

I was afraid of being annoying and potentially changing the mind of the employers who were evaluating my interview, but following up on interviews when done correctly can work in your favor. If you haven’t sent a thank you email already, send one and stress your hope in hearing back from them soon. Often, asking a thought-provoking question that you forgot or didn’t bother to ask in an interview can increase your potential employer’s intrigue and further prove your interest in their work.

3. Weigh your options carefully

All organizations have their pros and their cons and it’s up to you to determine which organization best matches what you’re looking for. I was faced with determining between a paid internship and an unpaid internship. With dollar signs spinning in your dreams at night (trust me, it happened) it can be easy to be clouded by that fact and rush for the paid internship. If you feel that you get the best experience from the internship that happens to be paid then by all means go for it! However, unless it is financially necessary, don’t allow money to affect your decision on which internship experience is best for you as the majority of internships are unpaid. Make the decision that will best influence your career. Compare the offers and determine among other things:

  • Which internship offers the most experience?
  • Which organization did I feel most comfortable and genuine with in the interview?
  • What are my opportunities for networking at each?
  • What are my chances of employment post-graduation?

For me, it came down to which organization’s work I was most passionate about.

If you are still stuck after weighing your options – listen to your gut! Your gut is usually right.

4. Meet the deadline

Wherever possible, accept the offer you want within the given time frame before declining others. Always work to make a decision by the earliest deadline of all your offers. That way, you can decline offers from those with earlier deadlines, and accept the offer from the organization you want while still allowing yourself a safety net of time with the others. You never know what might happen; even if you have a change of heart at the last minute, the door is still open.

At the end of the day, know that an internship is a great step towards cementing a future for your career. Congratulations, and all the best on your future internship!

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