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How an employer is going to see an internship after few years of stable jobs? Is it going to be seen as a downgrade or just as an additional experience?

I'm a full-time worker and in the meanwhile, I'm finishing my MSc. I've seen a really interesting internship with an important company and I was thinking to apply. It will be one year, very well paid (more than my actual full time position, incredibly) and I'm probably going to see interesting technologies (not sure about the practical part).

Obviously, I'm going to apply anyway, but I was curious how this experience is going to be seen from an employer point of view.

  • I did one after my MSc although I have a good experience already, it counts as positive for sure – JuliandotNut Aug 25 '14 at 19:09
  • "very well paid (more than my actual full time position, incredibly) and I'm probably going to see interesting technologies" This is very important. If I were hiring I would see a person who has worked very dilligently and knows how to pick a good internship. – Parrotmaster Oct 2 '18 at 14:26
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It's always tricky to try to answer how 'an employer' would see such a thing.

However, writing as someone who evaluates candidates, I'd be all in favor. It barely seems to be an internship -- it's paying work in the field. You have a coherent narrative about what you've been doing. You already are in student mode. As with many situations like this, the negative effects, if any, will be more severe at larger, more hide-bound employers who employ computers or somewhat robotic HR staff to evaluate candidates, and less severe at smaller places where people who need to get stuff done read resumes and talk to candidates.

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An employer will most likely see your internship the way you see it.

If you say that you learned a whole bunch of things that you would not otherwise have had an opportunity to learn, and practice and you can enumerate the non-financial benefits to you from having gone through that internship, and the things you learned are of value to your prospective employer, then that's the way your prospective employer will see it - Not everything that's worthwhile is reducible to just salary, stock options and benefits.

If you say that you took that internship because you couldn't find anything better and you didn't care about learning anything, that's the way your employer will see it.

The way you shape your narrative about your internship experience is most likely how your prospective employer will see it, because as far as your prospective employer is concerned, it's the path of least resistance and the easiest way out for them to depend on your narrative for what you experienced and learned.

You can say that you expected great things from making a financial sacrifice and going through that internship, and the sacrifice did not pan out. Or you could say that you learned a hell of a lot that you would not have otherwise learned and the financial sacrifice was more than with it. Either narrative is legitimate, as long as you expound that narrative with strength, integrity and with no regret or apology. It's all up to you.

The worst thing you could do to yourself is dodge and weave and be diffident, apologetic and insincere. If you do that, then you just created that special hell for yourself.

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I agree with bmargulies - it would be a positive on your resume.

Once you get to the interview there may be some questions, you don't need to reveal the fact that your intern salary is more than your previous job (although some companies are known for high-paying intern positions, i.e. Microsoft, so it might not even be a surprise).

Changing your job because you see a better fit and not because of the salary is generally seen as a great thing by hiring managers (who would be honored that you chose their company to work at for those reasons and not because of the salary). When applying for the interview, I would recommend you ask about their policy for hiring-in interns, such that even if you choose not to go that route, you have the information available to you to explain why you did what you chose to do.

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