College graduates are looking for something to give them “one up” on other graduates applying for the same job. On the other side of the coin, businesses are looking for ways to get projects and work done that will fit in their budget. The answer to both graduates and businesses is internships.
An internship worked for my son and me. I was an intern writer one summer for Better Homes and Gardens, which landed me a job in New York right out of college. My son was an intern engineer for a manufacturing company and that helped land him a job with Ford when he graduated, in the middle of a recession.
Both of these internships happened to also pay a salary. However, many do not. Why would you want an internship even if it is unpaid? There are many reasons.
First, you increase your knowledge and skills in your chosen career path. You now have work experience you can put on your resume as well as references.
Second, you learn more about whether this career choice really matches your passions. If not, make some changes. Maybe, go back to school and take more classes. You’ll be more successful when you are working in a career that reflects who you are.
Third, internships can teach you soft skills. Most employers rank interpersonal, teamwork and communication skills above technical abilities.
Businesses gain several things, too.
First, it is an opportunity to give back and help someone get started on a career path or change careers. It takes giving of your time, but you will feel rewarded at the end of the day when your intern becomes more directed in life.
Second, you reap the benefit of getting work done without having to hire a permanent employee and may even gain a new, progressive perspective on a project or process.
Third, if you decide to hire a permanent employee you now know if the intern is the person who can best fill the role.
Step out and fill the gap in your life with an internship. It’s a win-win deal.