This article will look at taking advantage of both paid and unpaid internships to jumpstart your career.
For some job seekers, it can be difficult to get a break. New grads, individuals looking to make a career transition, and those who are unemployed for long stretches of time often have trouble finding a job.
If you fall into any of these categories, you might want to consider applying for an internship.
Paid internships are a great way for job seekers to land a role when they are struggling to find full-time employment. Many organizations offer paid internship programs lasting anywhere from a few weeks to over a year. These internship programs allow the job seeker to get much-needed experience in their profession. And for the most part, an internship mirrors a traditional role.
Sometimes a job seeker needs help getting their foot in the door. In this instance, an unpaid internship can give them the experience they need to land a job.
Unpaid internships should only be looked at if job seekers are having trouble landing traditional roles or even paid internships. This type of unpaid volunteering is not like doing charitable work at a soup kitchen or animal shelter. An unpaid intern volunteers their time for free in the field they want to build a career in exchange for experience, references, or networking contacts.
Advantages of Paid and Unpaid Internships
1. Some internship roles turn into full-time roles.
2. You’ll be able to gain experience when you do not have any.
3. An internship can fill in gaps in a resume.
Disadvantages of Internships
1. In the case of unpaid internships, you do not get paid. This is the biggest barrier for some individuals who cannot sacrifice a paycheck.
2. In the case of paid internships, the salary is usually lower than most entry-level roles in that profession.
When Should You Consider an Internship as an Option?
1. New grad with no experience. Right after graduation, it can be difficult for new grads to land their first job in the field they trained in. If an individual finds they are having trouble getting their first role, an internship can be a good option.
2. Out of work for a long stretch. If due to circumstances, a person is out of work for a long time, a short internship will help them get recent experience and sharpen their skills.
3. Trying to enter a new profession. Make a career change can be a difficult endeavor. One way to get into a new profession is to get experience through an unpaid internship.
How to Look for an Unpaid Internships.
There are five main ways to look for an unpaid internship: campus career center and alumni association, traditional job boards, niche sites & professional associations, dedicated internship sites, & employers’ websites. Below you will learn more about each of them.
1. Campus Career Center and Alumni Association
Many colleges have a career center on their websites where new grads can find lists of internships that match their fields of study. Alumni can also find internships by going to their college’s career center or college alumni center.
2. Traditional Job Boards
You can find many internships on traditional job boards, such as CareerBuilder, Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, ZipRecruiter, and other smaller job sites. To find an internship, in the search bar enter keywords like internship and your job title. For example: engineering internship.
3. Niche Sites & Professional Associations
Just like traditional job boards, you can find internships on niche sites and professional associations. Go to your profession’s niche sites or professional association’s website and type “internship” in the search bar.
4. Dedicated Internship Sites
There are dedicated internship job boards where employers post internships. Some of these sites are:
a) College Recruiter – https://www.collegerecruiter.com/ – Job board specialized for recent grads looking for entry-level positions and internships.
b) Idealist – https://www.idealist.org – Job board for internship and volunteer opportunities.
c) Intern Jobs – http://www.internjobs.com/ – Internship website for new grads and career changers.
d) Internships – http://www.internships.com/ – Internship website.
e) Way Up – https://www.wayup.com/ – Jobs and Internships for new grads.
f) Youtern – http://www.youtern.com/ – Internship website.
5. Employers’ Websites
If you have specific employers in mind, you can look at their career sites to see if they have any internships open.
When landing a traditional role is not working, looking for a paid or unpaid internship might be
the solution to recharge your job search.