Re-Employment Strategies: Internships and Volunteering
By Paula Santonocito
Out of work and feel like you’re out of options? Have you considered an internship or volunteering?
Internships aren’t only for college students, and they can lead to full-time jobs. Volunteering can likewise provide a path to employment.
Employers from a wide variety of industries hire interns, although “hire” isn’t always an accurate term. Internships are often paid employment opportunities, but there are nonpaying internships as well.
If money is a necessity, and for most single women it is, you’ll want to look for a paid internship.
The good news is that some internships actually pay fairly well, especially considering they are entry-level positions intended to provide experience.
Take the Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance in Washington, D.C., which is looking for several interns. The government agency pays $31,751 to $51,124, depending on the number of academic hours completed. Interns also receive benefits, which add considerably to overall compensation.
How do you go about finding internships that are a fit for your education, experience, and skills? One source is CollegeRecruiter.com.
Adding to Experience
Keep in mind that internships are designed to provide experience. If you’re already a pro in a particular field with a track record of accomplishment, it’s doubtful you’ll be considered as an intern candidate.
On the other hand, if you have experience that you’re looking to augment, you might be able make a case for why the internship would be a learning opportunity for you. In a situation like this, a potential employer could find your qualifications very attractive indeed. The smart organization would realize it is getting a professional at a bargain.
Speaking of qualifications, as with any job for which you’re applying, be sure to tailor your resume to the internship posting. This might require digging into your education history to highlight courses you have taken and/or emphasizing different skills that you otherwise would not.
Giving It Away
If you’re in a financial position where you can work for experience alone, an unpaid internship can help open the door to a new career. This is a great way to break into a new field.
Volunteering can provide similar opportunities.
If you’ve toyed with transferring your corporate-acquired experience to an educational environment, for example, serving as a school board member can allow you to network while providing you with a chance to showcase your abilities.
Similarly, contributing your time gratis at a hospital can allow you to explore employment options as an insider. Volunteering for a non-profit can also lead to employment, particularly if you’re passionate about the organization’s cause.
In a tough employment market, it can be difficult to land a job, let alone the job of your dreams. In the current environment especially, it’s worth considering internships and volunteering as alternatives to direct, immediate full-time employment.
By taking a slightly different path, you could end up where you really want to go, while gaining additional experience in the process.
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