What is your location preference? Any student going through the internship and full-time job recruitment process should have an answer to this question. Because there are only so many jobs available in each location, you are best served to also have a second location preference as a Plan B. Being flexible is a good thing, however, the employers WANT you to have a first and second location preference as a basis for conversation. Consider the points below as you nail down your top choices.
Why is your first location preference your #1?
Be ready to share a couple of reasons that draw you to that city. Are you from there? Have you ever visited? Do you have friends or family there? Is there a specific characteristic of the city that is attractive to you? If you’ve never been to the location preference you’re considering, TAKE A ROAD TRIP before you commit.
You should intern where you want to live full-time.
Because most internship offers lead to full-time employment in that same office, it is critical that you have plans to remain in your chosen location for the start of your career. In addition, you will build many relationships during your internship, and if you change locations for full-time, that means learning new faces once more.
Choose your locations because of the cities themselves – not the employers in that city.
The employers hope that you remain employed with them for a long time, but what if you don’t? If you choose a city just because you like the employers there and not because you like the actual city, you may not be happy in your personal life. Be confident that you’ll still like your location even if you part ways with that special employer down the road.
Be consistent in the location preferences you provide to employers.
Recruiting with one employer in City A, and several employers in City B results in an “apples to oranges” comparison. In the end, you’ll make a decision not solely based on employer, but also location. Make the location decision up front! Another unfortunate outcome of recruiting with City A and City B is the employer in the city you don’t choose could feel deceived. Don’t burn bridges this way – be up front with the recruiters about your preferences.
If your location preference has changed since you initially interacted with employers, TELL THEM!
It is as simple as sending an email to the main point of contact for that employer (typically the recruiter) to inform them of your new preferences (e.g. “I have changed my top location preference to A because of XYZ”). If an employer you’ve been recruiting with does not have an office in your new location, thank them for their time and say you hope your path will cross in the future. If you do change your mind, don't make it a habit - employers will become irritated if you're constantly flip flopping.