In addition, if you’re out of work you may feel like your skills are getting stale. Internships give job-seekers the opportunity to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world says Erica Orange, vice-president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc., a New York City-based futurist consulting firm that analyzes trends in technology, economics and politics. “Required skill sets are shifting and internships allow people to stay ahead of the curve and develop a personal tool-kit that is germane to jobs in the 21st century,” Orange says.
Although staying sharp and gaining new skills are key selling points to a prospective employer, buyers beware: Internships have their drawbacks, too. For instance, Orange points out internship opportunities may be scarce. She also points out that for those who do get one many people “say it is menial with low or no pay.” As companies face pressure to keep costs down, they may rely upon the free labor and sometimes the tasks may be menial.
The biggest risk is losing your mojo on an external job search; the internship might create a false sense of security the gig will result in full-time employment. “Interns are often unrecognized for their accomplishments by the organization-at-large and hold no promise of future placement at the company,” Dr. Cardinale points out,
To intern or not to intern…that is the question. Perhaps the answer is best found in recognizing the evolving workforce and where you want to go. “An internship is simply an opportunity to test-drive a dream job, kick the tires a little and see if it’s the right fit for you,” Dr. Cardinale reminds us.