Trying to build a career from a series of progressive yet temporary job experiences is tricky. Ultimately, you must demonstrate a sincere narrative on how prior roles and your subsequent future ideal role fit together by: industry context, transferable skills, and overall progression of responsibilities. That reality coupled with the fact that only a small subset of firms are able to hire interns – means that your role selection must be both creative and focused.
So assuming that you are fortunate enough to have more than one opportunity available – how do you select the right internship? In short: by the interview. Understand that; job postings are documents that are crafted with the purpose of grabbing the attention of the best possible talent available. Furthermore, it is cumbersome for managers to accurately re-craft job posting responsibilities every 4-8 months as they cycle through interns.
So how do respectfully infer and compare the “progressiveness” of an internship? I’ve always found it useful to pay attention to the subtle structure of interview questions. Throughout conversations questions are often framed in different ways. But it is often easy to notice patterns in “How would you handle xyz?” (open-ended question types) vs. “Can you perform xyz?” (close-ended question types).
Really, the former is testing you reasoning and gauging your ability to deal with ambiguity. As an intern, those are the roles I would suggest partaking in (even over salary or brand-name), because they are often transferable and involve ownership. Remember as an intern, …
…it is not about where you are but where you are going.