Should I focus on local companies only or apply everywhere?

When it comes to applying for internships, this article provides guidance on whether to focus on popular companies or on local companies only. What are the pros and cons?

Monday, February 5, 2024

AI generated image capturing the dynamic and collaborative atmosphere of an internship environment.

When applying for internships, especially as a fresh undergraduate looking for opportunities in the United States, a common question arises: should you focus on local companies or expand your search to include opportunities anywhere in the U.S.?

Both approaches have their advantages and considerations. Here’s an analysis to help you decide what might work best for you.

Local companies


  • Networking opportunities: Local companies offer easier access to in-person networking events, industry meetups, and seminars. Building a network within your local community can be invaluable for your career growth.

  • Familiarity with the market: Understanding the local market and industry trends can be beneficial, especially if you plan to build your career in the same region.

  • Lower relocation costs: If you secure an internship close to where you live or study, you can save on relocation costs and potentially reduce the overall financial burden of the internship.

  • Cultural fit: Working in a local company can be a smoother transition, as you may already be familiar with the local culture and business practices.

  • Preference for local candidates: Many local companies prefer to hire candidates from their own community. This local preference can be due to various reasons, including the belief that local candidates have a better understanding of the local market and culture, as well as the potential for a more long-term commitment to the company. Hiring locally can also reduce costs and logistical complexities for the company, making local candidates more attractive.


  • Limited opportunities: Depending on your location, there might be a limited number of companies or a lack of opportunities in specific industries. This can be particularly true for highly specialized fields.

Companies elsewhere in the U.S.


  • Broader exposure: Applying to companies outside your local area can offer exposure to different business environments, cultures, and practices. This can be invaluable for personal and professional development.
  • More opportunities: Expanding your search nationwide significantly increases the number of opportunities available to you, including roles in leading companies and industries located in major economic hubs.
  • Specialization: For certain industries, such as technology or finance, major hubs like Silicon Valley or New York City offer specialized opportunities that might not be available locally.
  • Networking on a larger scale: Interning at a company in a major economic center can expand your professional network across a broader geographic area and industry spectrum.


  • Relocation and costs: Pursuing opportunities outside your local area often involves relocation, which can be costly and requires careful planning. Consider whether companies offer relocation assistance or stipends for interns.
  • Cultural adjustment: Moving to a new city or state requires adjusting to a new environment, which can be both exciting and challenging. Be prepared for a period of adaptation.
  • Competition: Internships in major economic hubs or with well-known companies can be highly competitive. This requires a strong application and possibly more preparation for the selection process.

Making your choice

The decision on where to apply should be guided by your career goals, financial situation, and personal preferences. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Balance your applications: Consider applying to both local companies and opportunities in other parts of the U.S. to maximize your chances of finding the right fit.
  • Research industries: Some fields are geographically concentrated in certain areas. If your field is one of them, it might be worth focusing your search on those regions.
  • Evaluate personal circumstances: Consider your willingness and ability to relocate for an internship. If relocating is not feasible, focus on maximizing local opportunities.


Ultimately, the best approach depends on your individual circumstances, career objectives, and the nature of your industry. Whether you decide to look locally, cast your net wide, or employ a mix of both strategies, ensure your applications are thoughtful, well-researched, and tailored to each opportunity.

Generative AI was used to develop the content of this article.


BibTeX citation:
  author = {Raheem, Enayetur},
  title = {Should {I} Focus on Local Companies Only or Apply
  date = {2024-02-05},
  url = {},
  langid = {en}
For attribution, please cite this work as:
Raheem, Enayetur. 2024. “Should I Focus on Local Companies Only or Apply Everywhere?” February 5, 2024.