Unpaid Intern: To Be or Not to Be?
- Sorted Christmas overflow mail for Canada Post; learned the meaning of the phrase “go postal.”
- Took messages in a call answering center whose clients ranged from restaurants to call girls (yes, really); learned you have to pay really close attention to whose line you pick up before you answer the question, “What’s on the menu?”
- Sold encyclopedias door-to-door; learned some people will buy anything.
- Solicited participants for market research studies; learned some people will say anything.
- Flipped burgers and pushed French fries; learned some people will eat anything.
- Painted house exteriors with College Pro Painters; learned the top of a 45-foot ladder is not the place to be when the wind picks up from Lake Ontario.
“First…we make a big deal for our managers to get interns. Department managers submit a proposal for a project that can be completed in 10 weeks. It must have a measurable outcome and benefit to the business. The best proposals are granted interns…Second, we make it challenging. We give interns assignments that matter to them and to us…Third, we make it real…for example, our interns simplified manufacturing tool kits, audited and redefined work instructions, developed internal communication campaigns and validated software.”
I recommended to my young friend she seriously consider the internship offer. Yes it would mean a few more months as a part-time waitress to pay the bills, but it could also represent the turning point in her career. As Pedra describes it, “Ten weeks ago, they entered as students, and now they will be leaving us as professionals.” There are hundreds of links to sites that offer advice and listings for both paid and unpaid internships. Here are some of my favorites: Career Edge: Internships for New Graduates (Canada) Ability Edge: Internships for People with Disabilities (Canada) Career Bridge: Internships for Internationally Trained Professionals (Canada) Campus Access: Directory of Internship Programs (Canada) International Youth Program Internships United Nations Internships USA Internships for International Students CollegeRecruiter Internship Listings (USA) Interns Over 40 (USA) USAID Volunteer Internships (USA) Karen Siwak is a Canadian certified resume strategist with 10+ years of experience in coaching & counseling. Read more » articles by this approved career expert | Click here » if you’re a career expert Photo credit: Shutterstock