Many people today focus mainly on education and professional achievements to enhance their resumes and assist their careers. However, those that focus solely in those areas may be missing some vital pieces in the puzzle that completes your personal and professional success. Internships and volunteer opportunities not only offer invaluable information that would generally not be available to you, but they also appear as big shiny gold stars on a resume. By having one or more of these one your resume, this tells the employer that you were willing to give of your time for little or no compensation to assist someone or to gain a better understanding of your career or field. That is indicative of someone that will “go the extra mile” or someone that is a leader or team player. So now that you understand this is a must on a resume, where do you find the opportunities for internships or to volunteer?
Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or Business Association Chapter. Most industries or professional organizations meet regularly with the Chamber or some sort of local chapter to discuss current events, updates in business practices, and most importantly to network. Generally all of these meetings are open to the public and a great way to find out about volunteering or internship opportunities. Networking opportunities at these meetings are endless. You should have your resume ready to hand out along with a small “sales pitch” regarding your skills and what type of internship that you are looking for.
Contact the company that you would like to work for and tell them that you are willing to volunteer or be an intern so that you can gain better knowledge of the business. Many times an internship can turn into full time employment or simply the networking contacts gained through working at the company can yield another opportunity that would have been otherwise closed to you. In addition, attempt to intern at companies that are well respected or known. Very high level executives will often agree to “mentor” or give guidance to interns that are interested in the business that they specialize in. It is a priceless experience that will not only look fantastic on a resume, but will give you insider information that may assist to propel your career.
Contact and become a member of some internship websites. Obviously, as with everything else today, you can find a plethora of information online. There are sites specifically geared towards assisting college students and people entering new careers to find volunteer and internship opportunities.
Contact your local Career center or University career placement center. Area business and organizations will most likely post their volunteer and internship opportunities at career centers around your area to ensure that they are recruiting where they will find the highest volume of job seekers.