INTERNSHIPS & VOLUNTEERING
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
An internship is a structured opportunity for you to learn, grow, and contribute in a professional setting. There are many variations of internships. They might be paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time. Regardless of these variations, what makes an internship an internship are these common features.
- Is a structured learning experience.
- Provides opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in a “real world” professional environment.
- Encourages you to develop and refine skills that are transferable to many work settings.
- Has a defined beginning and end.
- Includes a position description with relevant and clearly defined learning objectives.
- Provides for supervision/feedback from a professional with expertise and background in that field.
- Includes resources, equipment, and facilities that support learning goals.
The reasons for pursuing an internship are many!
- Explore one or more of your career interests in a realistic professional setting.
- Learn about particular industries, companies, and organizations.
- Help you decide whether a particular career direction is a good fit for you.
- Develop new skills and refine the skills you already possess.
- Apply classroom learning in a practical setting.
- Build your resume.
- Develop great examples of your skill sets for future job interviews.
- Make connections (network) with people in your future career area.
- Develop professional relationships that will be mutually beneficial in the future.
Finding & Creating an Internship - Considering an internship? Watch this brief presentation to learn more about how to find an internship, including some great tips on creating an internship.
Professional Practice Experience (PPE) for WGU Health Information Management Students - Step-by-step instructions to guide you in securing placement for your PPE courses.
U.S. Company Search - This comprehensive CareerBeam tool allows you to create a comprehensive list of companies based on industry, size, location, and key word.
Volunteering is another way to gain experience and network while also giving back to your community. Volunteer positions are unpaid and may not have a formal position description. Volunteering allows you to pursue your interests in different fields of work and utilize your skillsets to benefit a cause.
Benefits of Volunteering
- Offers incredible networking opportunities. Volunteering in your community allows you to meet new people and build your network. It communicates to others that you are ambitious, enthusiastic, and care about the community.
- Is the perfect place to develop new skills in a relatively risk free environment. It is never too late to learn new skills. It can also help build self-esteem and self-confidence as you develop new skills.
- Helps you retain and sharpen old skills. Sometimes job duties change and you may no longer be doing the things you used to do, and liked. Volunteering is a perfect venue for keeping those skills sharp and current.
- Can help you expand your horizons and explore new career options. Sometimes a volunteer experience can lead you to something you never even thought about or help you discover a skill or interest you were unaware of.
- Gives you the satisfaction of knowing you are doing good and being involved in your community. Making a difference in someone’s life is a powerful experience and it’s always nice to feel valued and needed.
- Can be energizing/renewing. Volunteering around a personal interest or hobby can be fun, relaxing, and energizing.
- Creates leaders. By watching those around you, you can begin to identify the qualities of leadership that you most admire and you can develop those qualities in yourself.
- Demonstrates workplace skills, management skills, customer service skills, and leadership skills that can be documented in a resume. Work experience is work experience, with or without a paycheck.
- Is a great opportunity to develop professional references and receive letters of recommendation.
- Can potentially lead to a new job opportunity!
Things to Consider Before Volunteering
- What do you want to do? What are you passionate about?
- What skills would you like to gain?
- What organizations would you like to work for or give back to?
- What are the organization's values? Do they align with yours?
- How much time can you commit?
- Can you attend training, if it is required?