Internships vs. Volunteering
Employers want more than a good degree; they look for activities like volunteering and previous internships that offer CVs a unique selling point.
But which is better: internships or volunteering? Which is more beneficial for the unemployed? What would employers prefer to see on a CV?
As an English Literature graduate searching for employment myself, I cannot help thinking that volunteering work, which is, freely offering to do something to help a company or organisation, has been fashioned into something that is merely there to impress: “It would look great on your CV!”
Volunteering does, of course, have a positive impact on the volunteer too. Volunteering is the perfect vehicle to discover something you are really good at and develop skills such as planning, budgeting and supervising others. Gone is the stigma of ‘do-gooders’, volunteering has become fashionable, and essential.
Whereas volunteering is ultimately about helping others and having an impact on people’s wellbeing, internships focus largely on the intern: working in a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training.
Interns generally have a supervisor who assigns specific tasks and evaluates the intern’s overall work. Some internships are paid and some are unpaid, but all offer relevant experience in a particular career field. Most internships do not fit the ‘volunteer’ definition: an individual who provides services to a public agency for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons without promise or expectation of compensation for services rendered. If an intern does not benefit financially for working temporarily within a company, the educational plan is, arguably, the greatest perk of any internship.
Reports show that internships and work experience were vital to successful job hunting, graduates who had done internships were three times more likely to land jobs! Although I would urge anyone hunting for work to consider volunteering, in my opinion, internships would fare much greater on a CV for having given the individual training as a pre-professional within a desired career.
Check out David Shinders video interview where he shares his thoughts on volunteering vs. internships with Youth Ambassador Jordan Davison!