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Internships are an essential ingredient to career success. However, sometimes the difficult part is finding the internship you want. Try these steps:
Make a trip to the college career center. A counselor can guide you toward the best field for an internship, your geographic options, and the time of year that best fits your schedule.
Go online. In addition to college databases, sites such as MonsterTrak.com lets browsers search by company, region, and field.
Check with alumni. Many alumni are happy to sit down with aspiring interns for informational interviews about the company they work for.
On-campus recruiting. Many national organizations, such as INROADS (www.inroads.org) and the Washington Center (www.twc.edu) probably visit your campus frequently. Check out your career center for info and dates.
The direct approach. If you’re interested in a particular field and know of a particular company you’d like to work for, contact the company’s human resources or personnel department. The staff should be able to inform you of any internship opportunities.
– See more at: http://www.education.org/career-guidance/internship-qa.html#sthash.kKWpCNjR.dpuf
While you may not have a “chosen field” yet, you can still start gaining experience by trying an internship in Field A, a volunteership in Field B, a part-time job in Field C, etc. It’s not a smooth way of doing things, but in reality it’s the way most of us work when it comes to finding our initial career path. After all, you can read all you want to about careers and even talk to people in various careers. But most people don’t really decide if a field is right for them until they experience it firsthand.
It’s NEVER too late to have an internship in order to gain experience in your field of interest. Many recent (and not-so-recent) college graduates arrange their own internships after graduation for the very purpose you have. It may not be called an “internship” per se — you might simply need to volunteer.
When you approach organizations, don’t ask only about internships. Let them know that you’re looking for experience of any kind, whether it’s through an internship or a more informal arrangement.
For example, you might want to contact a study abroad advisor at a nearby college and ask if you could assist him or her one day a week – for free – in order to get some experience. Chances are it might turn into a real internship. If not, you’ll be able to include your volunteer experience on a resume.
Also look into working on a freelance or contract basis with organizations in your field, particularly non-profits. Non-profit organizations often rely on volunteers to accomplish organizational goals.
Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under The Fair Labor Standards Act
This fact sheet provides general information to help determine whether interns must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act for the services that they provide to “for-profit” private sector employers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term “employ” very broadly as including to “suffer or permit to work.” Covered and non-exempt individuals who are “suffered or permitted” to work must be compensated under the law for the services they perform for an employer. Internships in the “for-profit” private sector will most often be viewed as employment, unless the test described below relating to trainees is met. Interns in the “for-profit” private sector who qualify as employees rather than trainees typically must be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for hours worked over forty in a workweek.
The Test For Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. The Supreme Court has held that the term “suffer or permit to work” cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction. This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria. The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.
The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:
The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern. This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad. Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.
Similar To An Education Environment And The Primary Beneficiary Of The Activity
In general, the more an internship program is structured around a classroom or academic experience as opposed
to the employer’s actual operations, the more likely the internship will be viewed as an extension of the
individual’s educational experience (this often occurs where a college or university exercises oversight over the
internship program and provides educational credit). The more the internship provides the individual with skills
that can be used in multiple employment settings, as opposed to skills particular to one employer’s operation,
the more likely the intern would be viewed as receiving training. Under these circumstances the intern does not
perform the routine work of the business on a regular and recurring basis, and the business is not dependent
upon the work of the intern. On the other hand, if the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or
are performing productive work (for example, filing, performing other clerical work, or assisting customers),
then the fact that they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will
not exclude them from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits
from the interns’ work.
Displacement And Supervision Issues
If an employer uses interns as substitutes for regular workers or to augment its existing workforce during
specific time periods, these interns should be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime compensation for
hours worked over forty in a workweek.
For additional information, visit our Wage and Hour Division and/or call our toll-free information and helpline, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in your time zone, 1-866-
U.S. Department of Labor