Volunteering and internship jobs are unpaid work that helps you get experience in the workplace. They are popular in the USA. Learn why volunteer and internship jobs can be important career steps and how to find these jobs.
You may find it strange that so many people work for free in the USA. But internship jobs and volunteering can help you meet people and gain skills. They often lead to paid jobs.
Why should I be an intern or volunteer?
Volunteer and internship jobs can be important career moves. They may not pay, but they will give you valuable experience and may eventually lead to paid employment.
Volunteer and internship jobs give you experience of workplaces in the USA
You will learn about American people and workplaces. You will see how people in the US dress and behave at work. You can be friendly, say hello, and ask questions, and the people at the company will be glad you are helping them. They will want to help you. For example, they can give you a job reference when you apply for paid jobs.
Volunteer and internship jobs will help with getting a paid job
You may have been unable to work for a long time, and now you may be trying to get a paid job. Volunteering and internship jobs show employers you are a hard worker. It tells employers that you are developing new skills and that you are serious about getting a job.
Volunteer and internship jobs will teach you new skills
You will learn useful work skills, such as how to work in a team and how to talk to people. Ask your manager if you want to practice a certain skill or help with a certain project. Your manager might say no. However, it is good to show you are interested. They will know that you are happy to help and might ask you in the future.
You will gain confidence from being a volunteer or intern
It can be frightening to start work in a new country with a different culture. Volunteering and internship jobs give you a chance to practice and make mistakes while you learn. If you make a mistake, most people will not be upset. They know you are still learning and you are not getting paid.
What are internship jobs like?
Internship jobs are like training. A person who does an internship is called an intern. Most interns are students or young people, but some are adults. Interns spend a few months learning about a career. The job will end on a set date. You will be interviewed for the job just like a paid job, and you may have to sign a contract. Some interns get a little money but never a full salary.
Every internship has different amounts of responsibility. See an internship job description that shows how an intern is an important part of the team.
Examples of internships are:
- In sales companies: talking to customers and learning about marketing
- In IT companies: data entry and learning about new computer programs
- In beauty salons: washing hair and cleaning and learning about styling
How to find internship jobs
Jobs websites such as Internships.com and Idealist.org have many internships to choose from.
What are volunteer jobs like?
A volunteer gives his or her time and skills for free. There are usually fewer rules for volunteers. For example, volunteers will often decide how many hours to work every week. Volunteering jobs are not usually for a set period, but you can decide when you want to stop. See a volunteer job description that is for people to help clean and maintain a park.
Examples of volunteering are:
- In libraries: helping sort books, preparing for events, helping children and other visitors
- In animal shelters: feeding and exercising animals, cleaning, office work
- In national parks: cleaning up garbage, teaching visitors about the park
How to find volunteer jobs
It is easy to become a volunteer. Many places in the community need your help. If there is a place you want to volunteer, call them and ask. Even if they have not had volunteers before, they might be interested.
Good websites for finding volunteer opportunities are Volunteermatch.org, Pointsoflight.org, and Idealist.org.