Advice » Career Development» Education & Training » Experienced Workers Find ...
Experienced Workers Find Internships to Diversify Skills During a Layoff and Enhance Their Careers

Experienced Workers Find Internships to Diversify Skills During a Layoff and Enhance Their Careers

Out of gainful employment, out of job offers and running out of savings, Scott Stevens of Portland, Oregon, has turned to a familiar strategy to gain experience and keep his skills fresh: The internship.

In spring 2009, Stevens, 35, took an internship on a sustainable tourism project for Travel Portland, a nonprofit destination marketing organization. In this role, he researches what it would take for an entire city to become sustainable and how best to market this initiative to the public.

His salary: Zero. Instead, the former IT sales and marketing professional is doing the internship for the experience.

“I liked the idea of an internship as a way to keep busy and connected,” he says. “The value to me is in learning something new.”

With the economy in the doldrums, Stevens isn’t the only experienced worker to go the internship route. Some, like Stevens, are using internships to build their resumes and gain experience during a period of unemployment. Others are looking to enhance their professional knowledge or sample a new field ahead of a possible career change.

Keeping Busy, Building a New Network

For Stevens, whose wife earns a hefty salary in the biotech industry, the full-time internship is more than a way to get out of the house -- it’s also an opportunity to acquire new experience, network and keep his skills sharp.

After months of searching for a job in high tech startups, Stevens decided to look for an internship or volunteer opportunity. He scoured Craigslist and online job boards and sent out feelers to people in his personal network.

Finally, a friend at Travel Portland agreed to give him a shot.

Under the current arrangement, Stevens usually reports to the office five days a week. Because he’s not getting paid, he can come and go as he pleases -- and usually does.

When he’s not working on the sustainable tourism project, Stevens is building new networks, trying to establish contacts in hospitality and tourism, where he hopes to land a marketing job eventually. While shrinking budgets probably means his internship won’t turn into a full-time job, his boss has been actively assisting him in looking for something new.

“She is aware of my long-term goals and is happy to help me network,” Stevens says. “She might not be able to hire me, but it’s nice to know that she wants me to succeed.”

Deepening Knowledge

In California’s Wine Country, Eric Henson has experienced a different kind of internship: Cellar rat.

Henson, who is a sommelier at Santé, a restaurant at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, worked the 2008 harvest as an intern at Deerfield Ranch Winery in nearby Kenwood, California. For the 2009 harvest, he’s lining up a similar experience at another winery in Sonoma county. Henson finds these internships through his personal network.

For him, the internships are a way to learn more about his business and the product he sells.

“I’ve spent the last few years of my life studying wine and providing recommendations to customers,” says Henson, 35. “Finally, it hit me -- other than tasting the stuff and reading about it, I didn’t really know much about the process that went into making it.”

The process, as Henson has learned, is laborious. During his three-month paid internship at Deerfield, Henson toiled over vats of wine, tending to fermenting grapes and analyzing and adding chemicals when necessary. As he worked, Henson gained a deeper appreciation for what winemakers actually do.

Perhaps the biggest challenge? The schedule.

During his time at Deerfield, Henson woke around 4 a.m., got to the Inn around 5 a.m. to prep for that night’s service, then moseyed on over to the winery. Work there began promptly at 8 a.m. and usually lasted until 4 p.m. He then worked his sommelier shift between 5 p.m. and midnight.

“It was tiring but very important in my quest to learn more,” he explains. “The way I look at it is that when you’re doing something you love in a place you love to be, exhaustion doesn’t seem to feel as bad.”

Test-Driving a New Career

Another reason to embrace an internship as a grown-up is to lay a foundation for a future career change. Such is the case with Lisa Tresmontan.

In early 2009, Tresmontan, 31, agreed to take a low-paying internship with Joshua Charles Catering in San Mateo, California. In this position, she works nights and weekends helping CEO Josh Feinbloom with everything from food preparation to event planning. In early 2009, Tresmontan oversaw every aspect of a customer’s wedding reception; in June, she helped cater an entire weekend of festivities.

Tresmontan landed the internship through friends of friends in the catering industry. It helped that her mother works in the business as well.

While Tresmontan admits that moonlighting is a lot of work on top of her full-time job as associate sourcing manager for Pottery Barn, she said she wasn’t ready to take a leap into the catering business without exploring it first.

“I wanted to make sure I liked it, and I’ve actually liked it more than I thought I would,” she says. “Someday, when I’m ready, I can leave the corporate world behind me and commit full time to this new career.”

Articles in This Feature:

Latest Jobs

North Vernon Industry Corp.
Posted: 05/29/2015
North Vernon, IN, 47265
Posted: 05/29/2015
Columbus, IN, 47201
Posted: 05/29/2015
Brownsville, 78520
Posted: 05/29/2015
McAllen, 78504
Posted: 05/29/2015
Sebastian, 78594

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-312