Bonus YSS: Internship? Volunteer?

Just what is an internship? Have you heard people throwing the word around and not sure exactly what it means or why people would do it? Here’s a little 411 on internships:

Internship, noun: any period of time during which a beginner acquires experience in an occupation, profession, or pursuit: (

Internships help people gain experience in careers. Internships are found among “white collar” jobs like law firms or interior design firms where a higher level of education is usually needed. Internships are, in essence, an exchange of services for experience in a career field.

Internships can be paid or non-paid. If paid, the money is usually very low as people who intern know that the knowledge and skills that they are acquiring has lots of value. Their experience as an intern will often be what helps them to get into graduate school or to acquire a job later.

So for example, if you know that you want to be in the music industry as your life long career, then you might decide to take an internship (as opposed to a paying job) to help you gain experience and clout on your resume. You may also take an internship because you DON’T know if you want to be in the music industry for the rest of your life and so you want to try it out. Either way, to get that experience, you have to volunteer your time by interning because being in the music industry is in high demand and people will give up their time just to get experience in it.

So what’s the difference between interning and volunteering? Not much, except that internships are generally looked at as a way to gain experience in a career, that’s the primary purpose. When you volunteer, you may be gaining experience but you are generally doing it to help other people out. Volunteer positions are usually in areas that are not considered “white collar careers.” But what you view as a career is defined by you, so go ahead and “volunteer” at the local animal shelter so that you give to others and gain experience in your field of choice. One day, you may get paid for it. That’s when it’s considered work😉


Post Question: Have you ever interned or volunteered? Doing what?

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