A Job versus an internship… Which would be the best option? The answer can vary according to both individual goals and the field of work you’re interested in. While there are places that aren’t very demanding when it comes to hiring people, some specific fields or positions might require some prior work experience.
But how can you gain work experience if no one wants to hire you in order to get work experience? Well, there are actually two answers to this question, but one of them seems to always be forgotten. If you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m talking about internships and volunteering.
Volunteering for an NGO can leave you with a set of soft skills that are sometimes dismissed in the traditional school system, like teamwork, conflict resolution, creative thinking, leadership etc. They can help you create a network with people from different backgrounds. Also, depending on the activity of the organization you can develop different hard skills. In ESN for example you can gain knowledge related to project management, event planning, PR, design, recruiting just to name a few. Of course, depending on the field of the NGO this set of skills can differ.
If you want to take it a step further you can also try to apply to the European Solidarity Corps* (known in the past as the European Voluntary Service) and volunteer abroad. Being a European programme, you usually get some benefits like accommodation and pocket money from your host organisation.
Internships are usually orientated towards students and fresh graduates and can be used as a starting point and a way to figure out which type of job fits you best. The main advantages that come with an internship are:
- you get to gain skills that are specific to your chosen work field;
- you get a mentor that will guide you and teach you how the company works;
- they can be part-time, flexible or full time and are usually short term (3 to 6 months).
Depending on the needs of the company and your performance, there is a possibility that at the end of the internship you will get the chance to get hired for a full-time position. In addition, in Romania, due to the Law 176/2018** the employer must pay you at least 50% of the minimum wage for your work (according to the number of hours you put in).
If you are a student and want to go for an internship abroad you can check with your university and see the conditions to apply for an Erasmus+ scholarship.
Last but not least, jobs are the “final destination”. They offer stability and they pay the bills but they also come with a lot more responsibility and a stricter schedule.
While staying in a place and developing a career can be a good choice for many people, you shouldn’t be afraid to switch between jobs, especially when you are young and are still trying to figure out what fits you best. Also, keep in mind that if you have enough experience in your work field changing your company can bring you different sets of benefits and knowledge.
In conclusion, each of the aforementioned paths can bring you different types of benefits. It all depends on the place you are right now in life and your priorities. It can be a bit scary to start your journey, but keep in mind that there are a lot of opportunities for growth around you.
*About ESC: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en
** About your rights as an intern in Romania: https://lege5.ro/Gratuit/gi4dqojwgyza/legea-nr-176-2018-privind-internshipul