The word “intern” brings to mind the idea of young whippersnappers in the infantile stages of their career learning about their desired field by working for little to nothing. However, a recent Reuters article explores a new trend in interning that may find college kids trembling in their new work shoes: older adults taking internships in between jobs in order to stay competitive in today’s challenging job market.
Reporter Alexandra Alper spoke with 55-year-old Elizabeth Romanaux, who is described as “brave” for taking on a gig as a PR intern for a firm in New Jersey after losing a managerial job two years ago. “You have to suck it up sometimes and do what a 17-year-old would happily do and be happy about it,” she said in regards to the time she spent interning this spring. While data on the ages of interns is scarce, Alper cites a number of career counselors, recruiters and graduate school advisers, along with employment stats that point to the likely continuation of this trend.
Employers don’t want to hear that you’ve been off work for over a year and haven’t gone back to school or found part-time employment in your field. Internships prove the opportunity to get hands on training without paying expensive tuition fees; the National Association of Colleges and Employers, an employment research group, also states that six in ten internships lead to employment. The increased number of mid-career employees taking intern positions can be trouble for recent graduates in need of entry level positions.