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Thread: Internship advice

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Internship advice

    Just looking for some general internship advice.

    I will be interning with a small municipality this summer as apart of my program requirement. I was wondering, once I'm done with it, would it be better to continue the internship as a volunteer or seek other internships else where (these are not a requirement for my program).

    The reason I ask this is because I know the place I will be interning tends to hire planners pretty frequently and have a staff shortage right now. The reasoning for staying there longer (I don't finish my degree until Spring 2015) is that it might increase my chances of being hired by them.

    Advice? stay with one place that has a good chance of getting me a job? Or diversify my experience?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Stay with your current job as long as it is economically feasible. Is your internship paid? Do you like the work you do there? If you volunteer, would you be an unpaid intern? In my State, it's technically illegal to allow unpaid interns to work on anything important (or that the company generates revenue from) But, I work in the private sector, which is different from the public sector. Gain as much experience as you can there. Try and get a full-time position with them. Then, when you feel you can no longer grow as a professional in your current role, start looking for another job.

    *Personal Advice (even though you didn't mention this)*- never tell your current employer you are looking for another job. It's best to search candidly, be offered another job, then allow your current employer the opportunity to match/beat the other offer.

    Good luck with your endeavors.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    This is unpaid internship. I am currently working as a grad research assistant for our university transportation research center, which is paid. I'm keeping my options open. With that being said, the internship for the municipality, since its unpaid...does it still make sense to stay with them? Does it look better to have several months at one organization (I will have 1.5 years with the grad assistant gig once I graduate) or would it be better to have a more diverse background with shorter gigs at a variety of places?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    I think it can go either way. The benefits of staying with one place is that it is easier to build up your workload and show increased levels of responsibility on complex projects. This assumes that you enjoy that type of work though.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  5. #5
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    I'd say it's worth staying as long as you can afford the time and lack of money. You'll get more experience and you can ask them to have you do some regular work with supervision. I can't speak for everyone, but an internship alone holds a lot of weight when hiring entry level. An internship with a year behind it shows you gained some actual experience and not just the quick required summer program. Besides, if you're working on a grad degree the city might be able to higher you with just your undergrad as a "related" degree. City hiring standards are usually written lower than actually needed just so they can take advantage of a case like this. You have an undergrad (I hope) and they know you'll have a master's soon. They could take advantage of you at an entry level position for a year and then bump you up when you have your degree.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  6. #6
    Professionally speaking diversify your planning experience. I too had to fulfill internship requirements as set by my degree program and stayed on as a paid intern well after requirements were met. The staff adored me and was satisfied with the work that I was producing, but it wasn't in the budget to hire at that time. Luckily approx 3 months after receiving my degree (circa 2008 when planning firms weren't really hiring), I started working in private sector and believe me the experiences from your internship will be invaluable particularly in private sector. But don't put all your eggs in one basket...

    While it makes sense in an ideal world for your internship to keep you on...it just may not be feasible for a host of reasons. That said...have a contingency...Also, I personally found the work that I was doing (i.e. GIS) at my county-level internship to be homogenous at times, unlike private sector where you actually utilized all of your "planner hats" on an array of projects.

    Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Stay until you feel like you can get a solid recommendation from your internship boss, or until you don't feel like you're learning anymore.

    Sent from my HTCONE using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    I guess I have a different take on this. Never take an unpaid internship. The value of what you are doing--both to those who you're working for and other employers--will always be in question. If you're gonna hustle, hustle for real gains.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    I guess I have a different take on this. Never take an unpaid internship. The value of what you are doing--both to those who you're working for and other employers--will always be in question. If you're gonna hustle, hustle for real gains.

    I mean on principal I agree, but I am unfortunately constrained by some harsh realities. Most of the small municipalities in the Tampa Bay region (i'm going to the University of South Florida and live in Tampa) are strapped for cast and not paying internships. While I have applied for one of the hand full of paid internships in the region that are doable for me, I did not get them. To be quite honest I had to leverage relationships to even land this unpaid position on the Tampa side of the bay, as I'm finding internships in Hillsborough county through the resources I have access to are limited. There are some internships across the bay, but from where I'm at it would be a 75-90 minute commute/ 35 miles with little to no pay really...

    So with that being said the internship I'm doing right now is giving me opportunities to learn and gain experience, and secure solid references.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    I guess I have a different take on this. Never take an unpaid internship. The value of what you are doing--both to those who you're working for and other employers--will always be in question. If you're gonna hustle, hustle for real gains.
    This is making the assumption that there are paid internships readily available. Do you believe that you should do something unrelated to the field instead of take an unpaid internship?
    I did multiple unpaid internships and got my current job only because of connections I made while interning.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by Silverdude2167 View post
    This is making the assumption that there are paid internships readily available. Do you believe that you should do something unrelated to the field instead of take an unpaid internship?
    I did multiple unpaid internships and got my current job only because of connections I made while interning.
    Of course someone is going to be limited by the opportunities available. I suppose it is a principled matter that all work should be paid. I mean damn, even I was paid at ten years old to sweep my step-father's business' parking lot, (at least enough to buy a Bart Simpson shirt from the thrift store next door). Being paid for your work is one of the defining lines between childhood and adulthood, even if that "adulthood" includes wearing Bart Simpson. Again, I understand someone's limitations... but by the same token, they actually have fewer limitations, because they have the luxury of not having such responsibilities in life that they need a real paying job. I never had the luxury of going and finding exactly what I was looking for work-wise and being able to work for free just for the experience. Someone tell me my perspective is wack.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Of course someone is going to be limited by the opportunities available. I suppose it is a principled matter that all work should be paid. I mean damn, even I was paid at ten years old to sweep my step-father's business' parking lot, (at least enough to buy a Bart Simpson shirt from the thrift store next door). Being paid for your work is one of the defining lines between childhood and adulthood, even if that "adulthood" includes wearing Bart Simpson. Again, I understand someone's limitations... but by the same token, they actually have fewer limitations, because they have the luxury of not having such responsibilities in life that they need a real paying job. I never had the luxury of going and finding exactly what I was looking for work-wise and being able to work for free just for the experience. Someone tell me my perspective is wack.
    It definitely is a luxury and I agree that everything should be paid. "Paid" with experience is crap.
    I guess my opinion is, if you can afford to work for free for a few months instead of doing nothing in the field I would.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    I have been blessed with a situation where I can afford to work for no pay this last three semesters of college. I am still doing a grad. research. assist. gig part time that also has relatable experience. Luckily it also covers the cost of getting "academic credit" for my program (yeah I'm not only not getting paid for the work I do, but I gotta pay to get the class credit. Like getting screwed without the common decency of the reach around).

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