After graduation, it’s tricky to land on your feet in a job market that is suffering all over the United States. We’ve all heard the horror stories of how intelligent college graduates are settling for jobs they are overqualified for, or how students thought they would find jobs upon graduation but are still frantically searching after two years. The fact is that in a competitive market like this, the best way to market yourself is by gaining experience.
This summer I have been lucky enough to work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Georgia and Alabama, and I have found my internship to be the most rewarding and beneficial work experience I have had thus far.
A disadvantage for most non-profits is they do not always have the funds to hire all the employees they need, which means that a small staff carries a heavy workload. This is where eager and intelligent interns come in. All of the interns at Make-A-Wish work with individual supervisors who mentor them throughout the course of their internship. This allows for more hands-on opportunities — and I don’t mean shredding papers and making coffee. Interns have had the opportunity to attend committee meetings with board members present, speak with corporate donors and collaborate on a countless number of projects.
It’s about who you know
Non-profits usually have a team of board members that is very involved in the foundation’s activities and thus, have better relations with the staff. This is a great way for interns to expand their networks and make important connections. Non-profits also receive help from a wide variety of professionals and corporations who volunteer their time and services to organizations like Make-A-Wish. This is beneficial because no matter what degree you are pursuing you will have the chance to circulate yourself among a plethora of professionals.
A paramount characteristic of interning with a non-profit is the rewarding feeling of truly making a difference. Interns have the opportunity to help grant wishes and learn the logistics behind the scenes, as well as watch a wish come to life and change a child forever. All of the interns have been able to contribute as members of the organization and really experience the magic that motivates the staff day in and day out.
Most students are not aware of the hidden benefits of interning with a non-profit and how they allow you to make a difference, expand your skill set and develop critical relations with other professionals. So if you are in the market for an internship, consider your local non-profit organizations to gain valuable experience for your resume and to make a contribution to your community!
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