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For context, I'm a computer engineering student.

Internships in general require that the applicant has finished their degree up at most 1 year before the application (question: are there internships that allow for longer times?). My question is, could I for example apply for a 6-12 month internship and as I reach the 3rd month (assuming I got the internship), can I apply for another internship of the same duration and leave, and then again, and so on until I reach the 1 year mark and have done 4 internships? The reason is that I want to try out different things within my field.

  • Will potential employers dislike this?

  • Is this something that is normally done?

  • Do internships have certain "seasons" (ie around the time diplomas are given by universities) and could they be more difficult to find after those seasons?

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  • What country/region is this?
    – zmike
    Jul 23 at 3:17
  • @zmike Portugal, although I plan on applying internationally. Europe. Jul 23 at 3:23
  • Is this internship a requirement for your degree?
    – AsheraH
    Jul 23 at 5:11
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    So you want to burn multiple bridges with companies by leaving after starting a longer internship? That doesn't really sound like a good start into your career...
    – FooTheBar
    Jul 23 at 7:40
  • @AsheraH No it isn't. I want it for the experience, after the degree. Jul 23 at 15:27
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Will potential employers dislike this?

Yes.. if they are posting a 6-12 month internship they are expecting someone who will stay 6-12 months. Sure it happens that they don't work out and someone might leave earlier but intentionally shorting them like this is doing to put some noses out of joint. And quite rightly so. At best if they understand that this was the "plan" they may well consider you to be someone who has zero compunction about screwing an employer over, at worst you come across as someone with the attention span of a mayfly.

I reach the 1 year mark and have done 4 internships?

You won't have though - you'll have started and abandoned 4 internships. Big difference. You don't take one bite out of four different meals and have that mean you've eaten four meals. I get the desire to sample different things and areas - but that's what internships are for in the first place you're aiming for a shortcut and it's not going to work like you think. Not only is there the potential for damage to your professional reputation but burning so many bridges in such a short space of time but you aren't going to get much worthwhile experience. 3 months isn't that long a time, in many cases it's not long enough to get any sort of in-depth experience of an organisation/field. And by the time you've been on-boarded into the new organisation you'll be reducing that limited span even further.

A much better approach is to look for a 6-12 month internship in a organisation with diverse operations and where the internship program is well structured to expose you to different aspects of the business. You don't lose so much time in onboarding and they are going to be targeting what you do and learn based on knowing the timeframe you are due to spend on each area, so you're much more likely to get something useful than the first third of it. Alternatively look for internships that are intended to be of a shorter duration (3-6 months), you might not get your goal of four but it's a middle ground.

Is this something that is normally done?

No. For all the reasons mentioned above.

Do internships have certain "seasons" (ie around the time diplomas are given by universities) and could they be more difficult to find after those seasons?

Some do yes - especially those with ties to academic institutions and programmes. It makes it easier for both parties to connect. It's not a universal thing though.

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  • Thanks for the answer. Do you think I could apply for a 6-12 month internship where I agree to stay for 6 months and by the end of it, if I manage to land another internship elsewhere I leave, if I don't could I extend this internship for 6 more months? Jul 23 at 15:30
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If you want to do more internships, I suggest you find some that have a shorter duration and apply to another internship once you are finished with your current internship.

Some companies offer summer internships for example, which are usually 3 months long. Obviously, they happen during the summer and you might not find such short ones outside that calendar period.

If you apply and get a long internship (6-12-more time) then I would strongly advise you against doing "internship hopping". Employers dislike this because it isn't any different than "job hopping". They invest some time in the internship program, recruiting interns, training them, etc, and they want something back out of it, be it cheap labor, or supplementing personnel to do some activity sooner, or for the most part to evaluate potential employees.

If you apply for a 12 month internship and stay 3 months then you will immediately be flagged as a no-no for employee material (i.e. if you can't stay in a one year internship how will you stay in a full time employment with no determinate work period?)

So the answers to your questions are:

Will potential employers dislike this?

Absolutely.

Is this something that is normally done?

No, because of what I mentioned above. It doesn't send the right message and doesn't create the right relationships between you and a potential full time employer.

Do internships have certain "seasons" (ie around the time diplomas are given by universities) and could they be more difficult to find after those seasons?

Yes. Internships often happen around graduation time, and for people that are at the beginning of their career. If you've already had a job for example, some companies might not consider you for the internship (you are either an employee or an intern; if you already had jobs they will consider application to an internship as somewhat of a step backwards; the progression is usually internship then job, not the other way around, unless you are changing careers or something).

In conclusion, if you want more internships, try to do more shorter internships. Otherwise, try to find a longer and good internship, where you will be doing actual work in diverse settings, instead of an internship where you are just a "cheap worker drone". And stick with it for the entire duration.

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