Want a Job After Graduation? Try Working for Free

Internships are becoming more common, for both college and high school students

Feb 8, 2014 at 10:00AM

Graduation
Source: Nick McPhee.

The employment picture may be brightening slightly six years after the financial meltdown, but the job market is still pretty tough, particularly for college graduates. Unemployment remains high for young people aged 20 to 24 years – 11.1% in December, compared to the national rate of 6.7%. Of the 3.9 million long-term unemployed, 2 million  belong to the aforementioned age group.

With competition for jobs still fierce, many students are turning to volunteer work and internships to bolster their chances for later employment. While college internships are fairly common, companies are responding with vigor to the level of increasing interest – and are beginning to look to younger, high school-aged students to fill these positions, as well.

High school internships on the rise
The harsh new economic reality, and dearth of part-time jobs have been credited  with an increase in unpaid internships among high school students looking for ways to polish their college applications. Recent studies show that internships are becoming more popular with both high school and college students – and employers.

A new report from Millennial Branding notes that half of companies surveyed said that they are currently taking applications for or developing high school internships for 2014. Eighteen percent of employers stated that the mission of such programs is to identify future college interns, and 70% said that students that complete their programs are very likely to become college interns – with a commensurate 45% chance of becoming a full-time employee once the internship is finished.

College internships are flourishing, too. In 2012, for instance, 36% more employers offered college internships than in the previous year, and 53% reported that they would take on more interns in 2013, according to Internships.com. In addition, 65% of companies surveyed noted that they received more applications for such unpaid positions in 2012 than in 2011.

In the site's 2014 survey, 67% of the class of 2013 reported completing at least one internship during their college career, compared with the previous year's 63%. Similarly, 56% of companies said that they are planning to hire more interns this year than last. These types of positions are no longer reserved for just summertime, and the vast majority of employers now offer internships year-round.

A worthwhile endeavor
Are students happy with the notion of working for free in order to secure future employment? It would seem so. Internship.com's most recent survey showed that 87% of college students rated their experience as positive, noting that work experience was the main reason they applied for the position. The third most common reason for participating was to secure full-time employment; 73% of large employers cited using internship programs to find full-time workers.

The Millennial Branding survey noted that 77% of high school students and 64% of college students are at least very interested in performing unpaid work in order to gain work experience, so it is likely that these programs will continue to grow.

Already, there seems to be quite a variety from which to choose. On Glassdoor.com alone, for example, there are well over 12,000 college intern  positions, as well as over 5,600 available for high school  students. For students looking to pad their resumes, unpaid work may be a stepping-stone to – and more readily available than – the compensated variety.

Another great way to secure your future
It's no secret that investors tend to be impatient with the market, but the best investment strategy is to buy shares in solid businesses and keep them for the long term. In the special free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," The Motley Fool shares investment ideas and strategies that could help you build wealth for years to come. Click here to grab your free copy today.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.


Compare Brokers