An Unpaid Internship Can Shape Your Career

unpaid internship shapes your career

Consider an Internship to Give You A Boost Towards That New Career

If you are in a dead end job or your career seems to be shifting in a direction you don’t want to be heading, it is not too late to volunteer or pick up an internship to redirect your career.

Choosing to do an internship gives you the opportunity to work (with little to no experience) in a new field, see if you like it, learn a whole bunch and gain valuable experience to put on your resume. Consider the end results: you will have a resume with experience that fits the field that you desire to work in, you’ll make professional connections and build a network in your new industry. All of which can dramatically increase the chances of you getting hired in a new field

An employer knows they can offer an internship unpaid because they are taking a risk in bringing someone on with little to no experience, and are also offering up the training and leadership to expand an intern’s industry knowledge. Going into an internship, you and your employer should both be clear on your goals and expectations. Understanding the internship objectives and why the employer is offering up the internship unpaid is a worthy question and may end in a better understanding of how this may pan out at the end.

A great example of this symbiotic internship relationship comes from Idea Marketing Group. Idea brings in summer interns for marketing and web design. A small marketing firm, they like to hire for the right fit rather than experience or education.

“An unpaid internship gives someone the chance to experience working on real projects in an agency atmosphere with tight supervision and lots of feedback,” says Sara Zuckerman, Marketing Manager. “When choosing an internship, it’s important that both the intern and the company get something out of the experience, and we think our relationship works both ways. I can’t think of any of our interns that are not currently employed in the field, whether with Idea or another company.”

How Do I Make The Most of My Internship To Get A Paid Job at the End?

1. Solicit Feedback … Often

You need to find out how you are doing and what you need to do better. Some bosses might not offer this up without prompting, so be sure to ask.

2. Accumulate Resume Bullet Points

Are you fetching coffee and running copies? This will be hard to translate to quantitative bullet points for your resume, so be sure you are taking on tasks that are teaching you new things and provide you tangible bullet points for your resume.

3. Act Like You Are A Paid Employee

You are a quick learner and you were selected for this internship for things other than your experience, so show up on time, dress appropriately, follow the norm for lunch schedule and don’t pull the I’m-just-an-intern card.

4. Be An Overachiever

Besides mingling like you’re a full-time paid employee, you need to put in even more to get to that employee level. As an overachiever, you’ll have a better chance to win your boss over for full-time employment or referral for work elsewhere. Give it your all and work like this is the best paid job you’ve ever had!

5. Make Friends, Find a Mentor

Whether it is your boss or your teammate, you have the opportunity to learn from someone in the field that really knows more than you. Ask questions, learn more than tasks from this person and seek guidance. A mentor can help you get further in your career.

And when your internship is over, you will be well on your way to a new career. If you need help getting your resume in order, Capstone Resume Services can help. We specialize in resumes for career changes.