By Kat Tretina
Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.
In decades past, you would enter an industry and then spend your entire working career in the same field, often with the same employer. However, today’s economy is quite different. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people have 12 different jobs over the length of their careers, on average. Not only that, but they also may switch fields during the course of their lives.
In a 2019 Indeed survey, 49 percent of U.S. workers reported a dramatic career change. For example, they may have switched from marketing to engineering, or from teaching to finance.
If you’re feeling burned out in your current field, switching to a new career can help reenergize you. And while switching careers can be challenging, completing a “minternship” — an internship you complete after already starting your career — can help bridge the gap.
What is a Minternship?
In August of 2019, BBC reported on the growing trend of minternships. Many millennial workers, frustrated in their current jobs, are using internships to relaunch their careers or completely switch their professional plans.
You can complete a minternship when you’re already advanced in your career, often when you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s. At this age, an internship can help you gain experience and test out a new field. And, it can provide essential networking opportunities so you can land a full-time job once you’re done.
During a minternship, you get hands-on experience in your selected field. You’ll work alongside professionals and learn the ins and outs of the business, completing projects and building your portfolio. Depending on the opportunity, minternships can be part-time or full-time commitments.
Where to Find a Minternship
If a minternship is appealing to you, there are several different ways to find an internship that matches your interests:
- Consider returning to school: In some fields, you may need to return to school to complete a certificate program, get an MBA degree, or earn a master’s degree to get a job. Many schools require students to complete internships, and will even help connect you with companies that are hiring.
- Search job boards: Some companies post their internships on job boards like Indeed, Monster, and Internships.com. You can search by location, company, or field to find an opportunity that suits your needs.
- Connect with your network: If you’re switching careers, consider reaching out to your network on LinkedIn or via email to share your goals and ask for help.
- Ask your employer: Some companies — especially large ones — will help facilitate employees’ transitions to a new department. They may provide student loan repayment assistance for employees who go back to school, or they may offer on-the-job training programs. Talk to your human resources department to discuss your options.
How to Prepare for a Minternship
While a minternship can be a great way to gain necessary experience, it may require you to make some lifestyle changes. To take on a minternship and leave your full-time job, you will likely need to adjust to a pay cut. To prepare for that and minimize its impact, follow these steps:
- Explore financial aid: If you’re returning to school and completing a minternship, make sure you apply for financial aid, including grants, scholarships, federal student loans, and private student loans*. You may qualify for aid and loans to cover your living expenses so you can focus on your education and budding career.
- Create a budget: Make a budget detailing how much money you’ll have coming in while you’re interning and how much you’ll spend each month. Account for regular expenses like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, and transportation.
- Cut expenses: Once your budget is complete, look for areas where you can cut back. Perhaps you can add a roommate while you’re an intern, or you can use public transportation.
- Find additional income sources: As an intern, you may need to be creative about how you earn money. While paid internships are possible, unpaid internships are common in certain fields. If that’s the case, consider launching a side hustle or freelancing or consulting in your old field to earn income. Or, you can take on a part-time job.
- Refinance student loans: To reduce your student loan payments while you’re interning, you can refinance your student loans*. If you extend your repayment term, you could dramatically lower your monthly payments. You may pay more over time in interest thanks to the longer loan term, but it can be worth it to free up more money in your budget each month.
If your current job no longer excites or challenges you, it may be time for a change. Completing a minternship gives you an opportunity to learn new skills so you can successfully switch fields. While it will take some sacrifices and time to do, finishing a minternship can prepare you for a successful career change.
Do you need to borrow money to pay for school, or do you want to refinance your existing debt to lower your payments?
ELFI offers private student loans and student loan refinancing loans with competitive interest rates. There are no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties. And, it offers a variety of repayment options and loan terms to suit your needs. You can use ELFI’s Student Loan Refinancing Calculator* to get a rate quote without affecting your credit score.
*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.
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