If you're a recent graduate, you may be feeling the itch to jump into your first full-time role. But what if you're not 100% sure about what industry, company, or position you want to pursue? Guest writer Alexandra Colina explains how Micro-Internships can be a valuable first step in exploring career possibilities.
How do I get job experience as a recent graduate?
Job searching as a recent graduate can feel like a catch 22; you’ve probably heard of the old dilemma: “must have experience to get experience.” Searching for entry level positions often becomes frustrating when you see the bullet point looking for someone with a degree and 1-3 years of experience. If you are worried that your lack of experience will hold you back from being a competitive applicant, you’ve probably considered finding an internship.
Internships can offer amazing opportunities to gain experience and understand the world of work and enhance your skills. But there are some barriers to the traditional internship. Sometimes they’re not very rewarding or may feel like more of a shadowing experience. Some internships are unpaid, which Rakshitha Arni Ravishankar posits is unfair, unethical and increases the social divide in a recent Harvard Business Review article. Sometimes internship requirements are too long or inflexible, and interrupt other experiences such as family obligations, volunteering, leadership summits, or athletic schedules. Well, get ready to be introduced to the hero that is breaking down these barriers: Micro-Internships.
What's a Micro-Internship?
Micro-internships are project-based, short-term, paid gigs for college students and recent graduates that are offered year round. While many college students have been exposed to the concept of micro-internships, these paid projects aren’t limited to degree-seeking students. Micro-Internships can serve an important purpose for recent graduates, as well. These opportunities are also often part-time experience enhancing opportunities that companies love. Companies are looking for amazing talent that can support their projects in the short-term, and recent graduates are looking for additional experiences to prepare them for the next position.
I'm currently in my first job out of school, but looking to make a career shift. Can I participate in Micro-Internships?
Perhaps you as a recent graduate landed your first job, got some new skills, learned what kind of manager you prefer, and made new colleagues, but now you want to try something new or pivot to a different industry. Making a career shift can feel like starting over and it’s hard to know where to get new experience in that new field. Micro-Internships allow you to get exposure and experience while being paid to test drive new roles. Perhaps you have skills as a program manager but want to test it in a new industry. You could work with companies like Parker Dewey to get matched with a Micro-Internship that would allow you to bring your program management skills to a new organization and get a sense of if that is a better fit for you and your career path.
What are some benefits of Micro-Internships?
Micro-internships allow recent graduates to build their resume in the new field, while also enjoying these added benefits:
- Gain first hand additional information about an industry or career path
- Execute projects to showcase on your LinkedIn highlights page or portfolio
- Connect with new managers to write LinkedIn recommendations, testimonials, or letters or recommendation
- Increase your professional network with new colleagues and friends
- Create some financial stability in a paid short term position
To sum it up: Micro-Internships will make an impact in your career journey either as you start out gaining new relevant experience for your first job, or as you consider pivoting to a new industry or career path.
Ready to get started?
Alexandra Colina, MEd, LPC
Alexandra Colina, MEd, LPC is a licensed professional counselor and a career consultant at Next Move Consulting. She has served as a career counselor at Loyola University Chicago, has taught career development courses to undergraduate students at Loyola University Chicago, and has designed career curriculum for Chicago non-profits including Cara Chicago and the Women’s Business Development Center. She has also provided resume reviews for 100+ applicants in programs provided by Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. Alexandra is also a certified instructor for TRACOM Social Styles and Resiliency programs which aim at providing social intelligence and self-awareness to employees. She has supported hundreds of individuals in achieving their next career move.