Internships

If you are interested in applying for internships, it is important to know all of the factors associated with them. An internship is a short-term job placement that is usually related to your major, field of study or the career that you are interested in.

They can either be paid or unpaid. Internships can also take place any time of the school year. You can do an internship in the fall, spring or summer. Some internships offer academic credits instead of payment for college students. There are many benefits to doing an internship, but you have to know which internships are worth doing. Internships can allow you to make connections with people in the field that you want to work in. In the best-case scenario, you may be offered a job at the end of the internship. However, simply completing an internship does not guarantee you a job. If you are considering doing an internship and want to know who can obtain them, how to obtain them, the pros and cons of internships and how they are different from apprenticeships, refer to the sections below.

How to Find Internships

The most common way to find internships (and regular employment opportunities) is online. There are many sites dedicated to finding internships for college students and graduates. You can find internships simply by typing your interests with the word “internships” into a search engine. You can also type “intern” with your keywords and this will present you with different internships around the country.

Another way for you to find internships is through networking opportunities. Taking advantage of networking could be more beneficial than searching for positions online. This is because you have a chance to make a good first impression before applying. Job fairs are a great place to network and find different employers looking for interns. If you are looking for an internship, be sure to contact friends, family, current/former employers, classmates and faculty members at your school. It is always a good idea to utilize your connections around you.

You can find internships in a lot of different places, which is why they are one of the more popular job-based training routes. You can find these positions in newspapers, newsletters, work/study abroad programs and community service programs, to name a few avenues. While there are many ways to obtain an internship, you have to be persistent during your internship search. There may be an abundance of internships available but internships with credible employers are typically very competitive.

Pros and Cons

Internships act as an effective way to gain job experience while increasing your chances of employment. While there are many advantages to internships, there are also disadvantages. This section will explain the pros and cons of an internship and what type of internships to avoid.

When you are chosen for an internship, the biggest advantage is that you are given the opportunity to gain experience. Employers are usually resistant to hiring people without experience in the field. In addition to the vocational skills you will gain, you will also gain soft skills that are important in being successful at any job.

Another advantage to internships is that you get to experience what it is like to work in your field before committing to it. It is common for people to choose their careers at a young age, go to school and graduate, only to realize that their job is not what they thought it would be. Internships give you the chance to avoid making that mistake by offering you experience in the field of your choice and giving you a better understanding of what you will be doing.

It is important to understand that networking during your internship is the best way to make the most of the experience. When you know and impress the right people, doors to new opportunities will often open. When trying to impress employers, it is important for you to be knowledgeable about your field, as well as show that you are eager to learn more.

While there are many advantages to becoming an intern, you should know that an internship is not always an easy process. One disadvantage is that internships are usually for entry-level employees. There are some programs that rely on interns to focus on menial tasks and in these types of internships, you may never get a taste of what working for the company is really like. These internships may not benefit you in regard to upward mobility in the company because you will not learn anything beneficial.

Another disadvantage to internships is that they have low earning potential. Even when an internship is paid, the likelihood of you being paid well fairly is slim. Because of this, internships can be a financial risk. This is where internships differ from apprenticeships. During an apprenticeship you are paid livable wages, whereas internships usually offer little to nothing. However this is changing, as many companies are starting to offer more competitive wages for interns to attract more talent.

The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to research the internship you are applying for. Most major companies that have an internship program will have reviews online that are posted by past interns. You should also talk to counselors and career representatives at your school about which ones are worth putting time into.

When researching internships to apply for, be sure that the description of the internship includes concrete responsibilities so that you know what you will be doing. Another way to avoid unfulfilling busy work is to ask what your day to day responsibilities will look like during your interview.

Law About Paying Interns

While there are many unpaid internships, it is ideal for the program to be paid. The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division enforces the law and uses certain factors to determine whether interns with private sector employers should be paid. To qualify as an unpaid internship per the Department of Labor (DOL), the position must:

  • Provide training that would be comparable to that received in an academic or educational setting.
  • Be for the advantage of the intern.
  • Not relocate or transfer current employees paid by the company.
  • Not benefit the company providing the internship opportunity. Per the DOL, this position may even disrupt the processes of the company.
  • Not guarantee employment at the company by the end of the internship.
  • Guarantee that the intern and the supervisor or boss understands there is no monetary compensation.
  • Both the intern and the employer understand it is an unpaid position.

Internships at non-profit companies are given an exception because interns are viewed as “volunteering their time”. Another sector that does not require interns to be paid is with the government. Interns on Capitol Hill work for free and it is perfectly legal. Congress is exempt from this law. If you feel you are owed pay as an intern, you can try and work it out with your employer, file a complaint with the Department of Labor or sue the company.

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