Volunteering and internship jobs

Internship jobs - woman in libraryVolunteering and internship jobs are unpaid work that helps you get experience in the workplace.

Volunteering and internship jobs are very popular in the United States. You may find it strange that people work for free. But internships and volunteering can help you meet people and gain skills. They often lead to paid jobs.

Internship jobs

Internship jobs are like training. A person who does an internship is called an intern. Most interns are students, but some are adults. Interns spend a few months learning about a career. The job will end on a set date. You will be interviewed for the job just like a paid job, and you may have to sign a contract. Some interns get a little money, but never a proper salary.

Examples of internships are:

  • Sales companies: talking to customers and learning about marketing
  • IT companies: data entry and learning about new computer programs
  • Beauty salons: washing hair and cleaning and learning about styling 
  • Read a sample internship job description

How to find internship jobs

These websites have jobs for interns:


A volunteer gives his or her time and skills for free. There are usually fewer rules for volunteers. For example, volunteers will often decide how many hours to work every week. Volunteering jobs are not usually for a set period, but you can decide when you want to stop.

Examples of volunteering are:

  • Libraries: helping sort books, preparing for events, helping children and other visitors
  • Animal shelters: feeding and exercising animals, cleaning, office work
  • National parks: cleaning up garbage, teaching visitors about the park 
  • Read a sample volunteer job description

How to find volunteer jobs

It is easy to become a volunteer. Many places in the community need your help. If there is a place you want to volunteer, call them and ask. Even if they have not had volunteers before, they might be interested.

These websites have jobs for volunteer opportunities:

Why should I be an intern or volunteer?

You will learn about American people and workplaces

You can learn about workplaces. You will see how people in the US dress and behave at work. Be friendly, say hello, and ask questions. The people at the company will be glad you are helping them. They will want to help you. For example, they can give you a job reference when you apply for paid jobs.

It will help with getting a job

You may have been unable to work for a long time, and now you may be trying to get a paid job. Volunteering and internship jobs show employers you are a hard worker. It tells employers that you are developing new skills and that you are serious about getting a job.

You will learn new skills

You will learn useful work skills, such as how to work in a team and how to talk to people. Ask your manager if you want to practice a certain skill or help with a certain project. Your manager might say no. However, it is good to show you are interested. They will know that you are happy to help and might ask you in the future.

You will gain confidence

It can be frightening to start work in a new country with a different culture. Volunteering and internship jobs give you a chance to practice and make mistakes while you learn. If you make a mistake, most people will not be upset. They know you are still learning and you are not getting paid.

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