Cynthia is a Staff writer for JustMeans. As a Career & Business coach I am passionate about working with people who are ready to impact change and align their values with their profession. As a graduate of Sonoma State University and Coach University I know the importance of life long learning. My coaching programs including Network Your Way to Wealth and in depth exploration of values, servic...
Career Management involves Internships to research careers in a global age
Internships provide an opportunity enhance our career management and represent yourself, expand your skills and career portfolio and learn new things. Follow the discussion that we've been having on Justmeans to see how people weigh in on this topic. Internships also allows you to be seen as a viable candidate for a business career that you may not otherwise be qualified for. Internships and volunteering is especially helpful if you are aiming to move from one industry to another, shift from local to national or international work or have been removed from and out of the work force for a while. Employers are looking for ways to evaluate candidates and choose the best person for the position. You too need to be doing this by being along side people who can be your colleague and mentors. The challenge you encounter in traditional paper based career mechanisms (resume, cover letter, portfolios) is that your accomplishments and results can only tell part of the story. It doesn't provide the comprehensive perspective that working with someone does.
A thorough and direct approach to marketing yourself in real time, is done by doing work that is similar or complimentary to what you are aiming for and helps you in career management. People like to see you in action and appreciate the effort it takes to put yourself out there. An internship can bridge a gap from your past jobs and careers to your goal of doing socially responsible work. The benefit is to work along side people and learn on the job skills. Demonstrating your professional skills by solving and producing results with others is a tangible, useful and expected way to receive recognition and product results in career management. It also gets you closer to finding people you can interview and role model yourself after.
There are many reasons when managing your career to consider creating or applying for an internship. One key reason is that it provides a good place to apply and demonstrate yourself. You'll be able to ask questions, demonstrate your skills, network and build professional relationships with people who can contribute to and add to your career management. By doing an internship it will open a new path to gain references, and add specific accomplishments in the field you are moving towards. In this international world and with the tools available to us you can work from your home or apartment in one country and contribute to and be an intern for a company 3,000 miles away. A global trend, which has emerged, is the outsourcing and delegation of work to off site locations all around the world in many different time zones, allowing for a virtual, 24 hour we never sleep business. This mind set can provide a springboard for you to benefit as a career candidate gaining valuable work experience in a variety of local and international internships.
The transition and action of career management from one career path to another will be made easier by being able to conduct informational interviews, be part of a team as an intern and build your career portfolio and increase your confidence. Additionally, you also provide a valuable service to the organization because you come to work on specific projects and assist the work load of a company or department. Internships when set up with the intention of a win/win for all parties produces a successful and powerful way to bridge your career path into socially responsible careers. Take a look at my co-bloggers Mrim's perspective on being paid. There are many ways to evaluate receiving a powerful and effective exchange for your time.
1. Be clear about your time frame. How many hours per week, what is the length of the project, and what skills and accomplishments do you want to aim for? You need to be careful that you don't intent to stay there until they hire you. Start first with your reasons and build a purpose for you being there that produced income for yourself then or in the near future. Remember to think both long term and short term.
2. Clarifying your specific outcomes that you want to get. Make a list of 3 key outcomes for yourself and organize your time and conversations to meet this. The company will have their goals and objectives and you need to be clear about yours. Initiating a conversation to get your needs met is not only prudent it's required if you want to feel valued and not taken advantage of.
3. Design at the beginning an exit strategy of how you will know you've been successful. Is it based on income produced for the company, the completion of a special project, a skill learned, a relationship developed, etc. Some people start an internship (paid or unpaid) with an end date in mind. That way you can be building towards something while also doing the internship.
The question of whether an internship is paid or unpaid depends on you and what you need to manage your career. There are many ways to consider compensation and value exchange for time expended. Defining the importance of being paid only in cash is short sided. It's important to be a broad thinker and use everything to your advantage in career management. If your #1 need is X and the Internship provides Y then it won't work regardless of how much $$ you are being paid. Be a global thinking and allow all things to serve you.