6 Reasons to Intern with a Small Business

Becoming an intern for a globally-recognised business can be a tiresome and confidence-bashing slog. Each year companies such as L’Oréal, Apple, BP, and John Lewis open a range of internships and grad schemes attracting thousands of applicants per position. The fierce competition means that some get very lucky, and others spend their lives dreaming of that one foot in the door.

Although the presence of a big brand name is like gold dust to a CV, the experience gained through interning with a smaller business can prove much more enriching.

Here’s why…


1) You will most likely be their only intern.

In a small office, having more than one intern becomes a burden on the permanent staff and their workload. Therefore, small businesses will normally hire one intern at a time. This allows the staff to focus on the individual’s experience, and eliminates the possibility of intern rivalry. In other words, you will have your time to shine!


2) There will be new adventures every day.

If you’re still not sure what career path to pursue, interning with a start-up company or small business is a great way to explore different avenues. Within a tiny workforce the responsibilities are usually shared out depending on strengths and weaknesses and as an intern, they will often pass on jobs with significant responsibility in order to quickly understand your areas of interest and talent.

Instead of becoming an intern with a specific field and title who is bound to one area of the business, you are interchangeable and can walk away with knowledge in a variety of areas.


3) No question is a silly question.

When you are first starting out in a company it is very common to feel too embarrassed to ask questions. The boss will get so fed up with me asking silly questions! The other staff will think I’m stupid! We’ve all been there. In a smaller company office, the atmosphere is usually much more personable and it is easier to target the correct person to ask your question.

Large companies can have an overwhelming bank of staff that will pass you from person to person before finding you an answer, and are typically less concerned with their interns‘ learning experience.


4) You will receive a detailed insight into running a business.

Imagine turning up for your first day interning with Apple, and being greeted by Steve Jobs. Never going to happen! A huge advantage of interning with a small company is that you will be shadowing the founding team, the CEO, the most important people in the running of that business, and you will see first-hand what it takes to put an idea into action.

Their company may not be as successful as Apple (yet) but the opportunity to learn from a group of entrepreneurial and innovative people is one that should not be ignored.


5) You have the chance to become part of their team.

Feeling like a regular member of staff during a short period of time with a company can be the most valuable experience when interning. If the team invite you to meetings, include you in group emails, ask for your opinions on business matters, these actions all add up to leave you feeling involved and valued.

Managing to blend into a small team without any issues is a skill in itself which the team will no doubt account for in your future references.


6) They will probably remember you forever.

Large businesses will often let their interns become a statistic in intern history – unless they made an ingenious discovery and consequently a large sum of money whilst they were employed!

On the other hand, smaller businesses won’t forget those interns who came in and made an impact, no matter how big or small. Keeping in contact with your ex-intern boss is a great way to build connections and begin networking. If you’re lucky, they might ask you to come back!


Ashleigh is a creative writing graduate who enjoys sharing her relatable anecdotes on Twitter and her photo diary on Instagram.

Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.