When you think of an internship, you often think of inexperienced young adults trying to gain professional work experience, but internships can be just as beneficial for experienced workers.
It’s not easy for an experienced worker to consider the idea of applying for an internship. After years of hard work and career growth, an internship can feel like ten steps backwards, but it can actually be the entry way to new opportunities. An internship creates the opportunity to develop/refine new skills, to network with other professionals in your field, and to add value by taking on projects and responsibilities greater than the typical intern. It also gives you the added benefit of being able to apply for jobs that are limited to internal applicants only.
Many companies use internships as a way to enhance their recruitment efforts. It’s a way for companies to test out an employee before committing to hiring them. In some cases, a company may make a permanent job offer at the end of the internship. Even if a job offer doesn’t happen right away, an intern who makes a favorable impression could receive an offer down the line when an opening occurs. If you’re making a career change, an internship can help you begin that transition. An internship gives you face time with hiring managers and when full-time positions become available your name will be at the front of their minds. At a time when there are four generations of people active in the workforce (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and the catchall Millennial), an internship gives you the opportunity to interact with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives – learning what makes them unique, how to effectively and respectfully interact with them, and how they add value to a company. Working an internship as a seasoned employee shows that you are flexible, adaptable, confident, and open to change.
Lastly, it’s a paycheck; and some money is always better than no money. Granted, many internships require enrollment at a college or university, but you could easily meet this requirement by enrolling in a work-related course at a community college. It is understood that an internship is temporary employment, but just like contract work, sometimes contract work becomes permanent work.
You can begin your internship search on LinkedIn. Just search for "internship" along with your geographic location and literally thousands of opportunities will present themselves. From there you can filter the search results to suit your career interests and availability. Here's a tip: Municipal governments often have internships in a wide variety of career fields: human resources, engineering, IT, finance and budgeting, community relations, and more! Make sure you check your city's website for internship opportunities. The private sector does not have a monopoly on opportunities for career growth! Your next career opportunity is waiting. Leave no stone unturned!