Many companies trying out older interns
By Sylvia Perez
Internships aren’t just for college kids anymore. A slumping economy and layoffs have many companies trying out older interns.
It’s a growing market that is getting some extra help, as more people realize older employees have a lot to offer.
It became the subject of a 2015 Hollywood movie “The Intern” – a 70 year old Robert Di Niro interning at a company filled with millennials. It may seem farfetched, but big name companies such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, IBM and General Motors have embraced the concept of what’s being called the return internship.
It’s basically a mid-career internship meant to help people who have spent time away from the workforce for a variety of reasons.
Carol Fishman Cohen is the founder of iRelaunch. She works with companies to create career re-entry programs, so called “return-ships,” and works with individuals to help them return to work after taking career breaks.
“Overall this population who takes a voluntary career break is high caliber, they’re educated they have a great work experience they have a mature perspective they are at a great life stage,” she said.
Carole Andrew took an 18 year career break to raise her two children. Now, thanks to the help of iRelaunch, she was directly hired as a management specialist with the accounting consulting firm Grant Thornton.
“I think the important thing to understand is when you go back into workforce you still have skills and experience that’s valuable and you need to be able to make that link for employers,” Andrew said.
So you want to get back in the workforce, but don’t’ know where to begin? Here’s some tips from iRelaunch.
First: begin by doing a career assessment. What do you want to do? Take a look at your old jobs or volunteer experiences; see how they can benefit you today.
Then, update your skills by taking classes, doing research and reading up on the field so you are up to date.
Become a strategic volunteer, meaning volunteer in an area that can benefit your job search. Network and market yourself.
And finally, Cohen says, get out of the house to meet people and practice how you sell yourself.
“The more practice you have the better you will sound, the more confident you will feel and then you will make those personal connections that will ultimately lead to a successful relaunch,” Cohen said.
Andrew admits it wasn’t easy, but she’s happy where she is today and encourages others to seek help to get back in the game.
“It’s a rewarding experience. It’s hard work, it’s challenging, but at the end of the day, it’s a great start to next chapter of your life,” she said.