An internship is an incredibly valuable resume builder when you begin pursuing a career in your chosen finance field. You’ll gain actual job experience, understand the value of working as a team, and get a taste for life in a professional setting.
You’ve probably heard that one of the most valuable things you can do when interviewing for an internship is to ask the interviewer questions. Questions demonstrate you’ve invested time in researching your potential employer, and you’re genuinely interested in the job. But the questions shouldn’t stop once you’ve gotten hired. Here are five valuable questions you should ask your employer during your finance internship that can better prepare you for your professional future.
This is the single most important question you can ask while working in your finance internship. You’re here to perform a valuable role for the company you are interning with. But you’re also here to gain valuable experience in the industry. This is a big opportunity, and you want to make the most of it. You’ll likely start your internship asking, “What can I do?” Getting direction and acting on it is a big part of any new job. But as you get some experience, if there’s a particular task or set of tasks you’re dying to try, go ahead and ask! You might be surprised at your employer’s willingness to give you meaningful work if you show you’re self-motivated and ambitious to try it.
College prepares you very well to perform certain roles in a “sterile” environment where all conditions are perfect, all necessary data is available to you, and every answer is attainable with the resources you have. That’s important, because it’s the best way for you to learn the fundamentals. You’ll learn quickly in your finance internship that in business, the conditions are rarely perfect. With every career, there are things that require problem-solving and will need to be learned as you go. The good news is, that’s true for everybody. Use your opportunity as an intern to ask someone who has been there before what to expect. It will help you prepare for life after graduation and give you a leg up on fellow job seekers.
How much do you know about the career path you’re considering? You’ve probably heard about it from guest speakers in class, or read about it online. But as an intern, you will be working with finance professionals who hold positions you’d like to see in your own email signature one day. Your finance internship is your chance to find out what it’s really like to be a financial planner, or a wealth manager. Don’t be afraid to ask this question. It can get you access to a real-life narrative from someone living the life you aspire to. There might be upsides to this career that you never even realized. There also might be some challenges you haven’t considered yet. This question allows you to explore a career path beyond the day-to-day tasks and see the human side of the job.
There are classes, online articles and videos, and tip sheets galore about writing effective resumes. But the person who chose to hire you for this finance internship has a front row seat to literally hundreds of resumes in his or her inbox every year. Wouldn’t it be great to hear first-hand the little things that make a resume stand out from the rest of the pile? If you’re looking to gain a competitive edge when you start your post-college job hunt, this is valuable insight that is just a conversation away as an intern.
Every finance internship is a learning experience. Sometimes the lesson is, “I don’t ever want to work for a company like this again.” But most internships are positive experiences. If you enjoy the company, the work, and the people, you may even consider starting your career with the employer you’re interning for. Demonstrating that interest during your internship is incredibly powerful, even if you know they don’t have any openings. It shows the employer that you respect and enjoy the culture of their company, and it sets you up very well for a chance to come back to interview with the company when they are hiring.
Your internship is a tremendous opportunity to gain on-the-job experience in a specific finance career and get a glimpse of life after college. Asking these five questions will help you get even more from your finance internship experience.
What if you could job shadow eight finance professionals in a wide variety of careers, with an array of career paths, all in a single day? We created this eBook to make that possible. Inside, we profile eight successful finance pros who at one time were in the same spot you're in now. We asked them what they do, what they like about it, and how they got to where they are today. We compiled their responses in this valuable eBook for college students planning to launch a finance career.