Selecting an Internship: The Personality Factor

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Selecting an Internship: The Personality Factor

This blog was written by Melissa Olney, our Campus Ambassador from Wake Forest University.

Do you know what your personality type is? Maybe you took a personality test years ago in one of your tween magazines. But it’s time for an update, because understanding your personality is one of the most important factors for choosing an internship. The closer the match is between your personality and the internship requirements, the happier and more successful you will be as an intern.
How can you better understand your personality so you can attain internship that is the most suitable for you?

1) Take a classic personality test: A personality test is a great starting point to getting a better understanding of your personality. The most popular and reliable test is the Myers Briggs Personality Test (MBTI), which has 16 different personality types based on whether you are: introverted or extroverted; sensing or intuitive; thinking or feeling; judging or perceiving. Most college career offices offer a test s based off of the MBTI or you can a take one online, such as: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

2) Make a match: Be sure that the internships you apply for have projects and work environments that are suitable for your unique personality. Don’t choose an internship that requires you to be at a desk all day if you prefer being on your feet and moving around. Remember that your personality is a combination of personality types and thus the best internship is one that reflects your own combination. Below is a guideline for picking an internship based on personality and several examples of possible internships for each type:

If you’re “Physically Active”
Choose an internship with hands-on projects and physical movement.
Examples: Fitness, Environmental Sustainability

If you’re “Social”
Choose an internship that involves interaction with clients or collaboration with colleagues.
Examples: Social Media, Public Relations, Non-profit

If you’re a “Problem Solver”
Choose an internship that involves working independently with information or involves researching.
Examples: Medical or Legal Research, Technology

If you’re a “Persuader”
Choose an internship in a competitive environment with the ability to promote a product or idea and influence others.
Examples: Advertising, Marketing, Politics

If you’re an “Organizer”
Choose an internship that is rule-regulated, highly structured, and has distinct deadlines on assignments.
Examples: Finance, Administration, Archivist

If you’re “Artistic”
Choose an internship with projects requiring creativity, flexibility, and innovation.
Examples: Graphic Design, Photography, Fashion

3) Read the fine print of internship descriptions: It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea of what you want to be doing in an internship rather than focus on what you will really be doing. Honestly evaluate whether your personality and skill sets match the actual responsibilities you will have as an intern. Many descriptions for internships also include some personality traits that the ideal applicant would possess. Try selecting an internship based on the duty descriptions rather than the “name” or “industry.”

4) Ace the application and interview: A successful internship experience is all about the fit. By understanding your personality, you will be able to tell employers exactly how your own personality strengths and skill sets match the responsibilities you will have as an intern.