So you think corporate internships are just for college students … a course requirement they undertake because they have to? You might be surprised. Many transitioning veterans use corporate internships, both paid and unpaid, to reinvent themselves.
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If you are looking for jobs after the military and looking to kick-start a career in a new field, a mid-career internship offers a fast and effective way for you to gain practical work experience and develop valuable industry connections. You don’t need to be enrolled in an academic or vocational program to get one.
A growing number of companies recognize that transitioning veterans offer a valuable range of leadership, management and decision-making skills but appreciate that you may need more industry exposure to secure a career after the military.
The solution: corporate internship programs where veterans gain industry experience while evaluating whether that line of work is the right fit for a long-term career. Internships offer the opportunity for an employer to try you out without committing and give you the specific industry knowledge to fast-track your new career after the military. Perform well during an internship – well that’s better than a job interview.
The catch? Pay and timing.
These internships usually run for six weeks to three months, but most offer scant pay, if any. Many are only offered at specific times in the year and need you to apply well in advance.
So what can you do? If you think an internship may be a great fit – do your research now. Time your EAS or retirement to line up with a potential internship, and ideally undertake it on terminal leave to avoid financial challenges.
So what types of opportunities are out there?
- J.P. Morgan: Looking for a corporate career in finance? J.P. Morgan offers a nine-week internship that includes networking sessions with senior company leadership and military veteran employees.
- Goldman Sachs: In addition to an extensive Veterans Integration Program, Goldman Sachs also offers an eight-week paid internship program to veterans who possess a bachelor’s degree and have an interest in financial markets.
- Oracle: Focusing on injured veterans, Oracle has developed a comprehensive paid internship program that provides training in IT, technical consulting, finance, HR, sales and marketing.
Pre-MBA? A number of companies offer specific boot camp and internship style programs for veterans.
- Credit Suisse: Aside from an extensive internship program, Credit Suisse also offers an annual full-day program that prepares veterans for a move into investment banking, sales and trading and private banking.
- Google: It is very hard to beat a two-day, all-expenses-paid summit if you are a veteran moving into business and technology.
Check out The Aurora Foundation. It sources funding to support student veteran internships in both the private and government sectors.
Don’t limit your horizon to the veteran internships. Sites such as internships.com have thousands of opportunities, and many of the participating companies will give preference to veteran applicants.
As with all things in life, do your research. Don’t be taken advantage of and work for little to no pay if there is no vested interest for you. Pick the right company, line an internship up with your separation date, and apply early. Your new career in corporate America could be off to a flying start.