How to Gain Valuable Experience Even When You Don’t Have Time to Intern

Thousands of people yearly have to pay their way through college, forced to work full-time while taking on a full class load. I greatly admire these people, but they have an uphill battle because they don’t have the extra time to complete internships and gain the valuable experience employers demand.

We have a plan to help right this wrong and provide some fresh ideas to gain experience even when time isn’t your ally:

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Video Transcript for “How to Gain Valuable Experience When You Don’t Have Time for Internships”

Brian Clapp, Director of Content Here’s a problem, let’s say you’re in college and you’ve been beaten over the head with how important it is to get internships. I’m probably one of those people who have beaten you over the head; I’ve told you you need the experience, you need to get yourself in a corporate culture and get valuable items on your resume.

gain experience when no time to intern

Some people have to work their way through college which doesn’t leave them much time to intern and gain experience. We have some ideas to help solve this Catch-22.

But what if you are one of those people that needs to work to put yourself through college, you shouldn’t have to give up the experience or resume building that going on an internship provides.

Here are three ideas that you can implement in order to get the experience that everyone else who doesn’t have to put themselves through college, gets.

#1 Don’t give up on the internship dream

Don’t give up, just scale back a little bit on where you are going to apply.

If you apply for an internship at a major news network, lets say a CNN-type place, there are going to be hundreds of people applying, you will go through an interview process and if you get the opportunity their expectations of you are going to be very high.

A place like CNN is going to expect that you put in a lot of time and fit into their scheduling demands. BUT, if you go to a smaller agency, or a smaller network, whatever your niche is, those are the places that don’t get as many interns to apply and are going to be more interested in hiring you and being flexible with your schedule.

#2 Consider job shadowing

Target some specific businesses that interest you and explain yourself and your situation in an email. Don’t go too long – explain your situation quickly. Be short and to the point and say something like – I’m a full-time student, this is my degree, this is where I go to college …and I also work full-time. Because of the demands of my schedule I may not be a great candidate for an internship, but I want to get the experience that your business can provide. Is there any chance I may be able to spend a few hours job shadowing you on a certain date?

People will respond because most want to help.

I know when I was the News Director of a sports network, I often had people who wanted to job shadow me.  I’d meet them that day, I’d show them around, they’d ask questions – truth is I probably enjoyed it as much as they did. It’s a valuable method to introduce you to a new connection, learn about a corporate culture and get a chance to ask someone intelligent questions.

#3 Volunteering still works

Businesses still take volunteers, who doesn’t like free skilled labor?! Of course there are some hurdles based on the “Black Swan interns must get paid” lawsuit, but the truth is businesses still accept volunteers. They will probably have a cap on how much time you can put in volunteering, but it is still a great way to get your feet in the door, build connections an start networking through your volunteer efforts.

If you are one of those people that has to work and doesn’t have much extra time to put into interning, take these ideas to heart and start implementing them so your resume can be as robust and industry specific as employers demand.

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.