Students Now Compete with 50-Year-Olds for Internships
And you thought your biggest obstacle to getting an internship was finding one that pays. It turns out that as the economy bounces back and people start to re-enter the workforce, adults and highly-skilled workers are willing to work internships for minimum wage or less. According to this CNN article, 23% of resume applications on Careerbuilder.com are now from workers who either have 10 years of experience, or who are 50 years old or more.
I don’t resent anybody, be they old or young, for applying for an internship. Adult interns are indeed following a logical path back to full-employment and I applaud them for their initiative. That being said, this really sucks for college students. When we apply for internships now, we aren’t just competing with our peers; we’re competing with 40 year olds who have complete resumes. I do sympathize with experienced workers who are looking to land a new job, but it seems almost wasteful that people with decades of work experience might take opportunities away from 19 year olds who are desperate for their first foothold in the job market.
Internships are unique in that relevant work experience isn’t always a prerequisite to landing the job. That said, my gut tells me that most employers want to give these opportunities to young people, so be sure to use youth to your advantage when interviewing. I wouldn’t directly address the issue of older applicants, but it can’t hurt to highlight the fact that you have a unique perspective as a college student that could be a real asset to the company.
Have you worked alongside any highly-experienced interns, or even lost out on a job to one? Let us know in the comments.