Brown suggests high school students considering an unpaid internship to think about their motivation behind pursuing an internship versus applying for a summer job."For some students, in particular the students who are undecided about a career, a summer job is often a better option," she explains. "If we're talking about a student who is planning on attending a 4-year college, and already knows what they want to do, an unpaid internship in a highly competitive field can give them a leg up. By acquiring real world experience before internships are traditionally expected --i.e. junior or senior year in college--they are going to have an easier time building their resumes."
According to Brown, your child should go for it! "Don't be afraid to contact a company you want to work for. If you have a burning desire to work for a financial planning firm, write a letter to the person you want to work for and explain why you want to work there and how your skills will benefit them."
An internship may even fall into your child's lap. Erin D., a high school student in Massachusetts, created a facebook group to protest the demise of a popular radio station. After over 7,000 members joined the group, a representative from the station contacted her. Since then, Erin has since connected with a local college that is creating a marketing plan to bring the station back, and she's been instrumental in helping some of the former DJs stay "on air" in a new online format and is waiting to see if the station gets back on the FM dial. "It's not a formal internship, she explains, "but it seems that once they get back on the air, I might have a shot."
"Certainly the possibility is high that you will be tapped for a full-time position, provided your quality of work was consistently high and your attitude was positive," says Brown. "In fact, many companies create internship programs specifically to create a tested talent pool from which they can handpick future employees."
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