Ever heard the word “returnship”? Returnship is an internship opportunity geared towards experienced professionals. The concept was coined by Goldman Sachs back in 2008 to help people restart their careers after an extended absence from the workforce. Goldman began a program to offer a paid, ten-week program for professionals to experience working again and at the end, offered full-time jobs to those selected. This program is still in existence and as a result, other companies such as Capital One, have followed its lead.
What are the benefits? A returnship is a way to transition back into the workplace. According to Goldman Sach’s website: “Whether it leads to a full-time career, or serves to sharpen the skills necessary to take the next step, the Goldman Sachs Returnship Program is a valuable experience for anyone who’s ready to re-enter the workforce.” Stacey Delo, founder and CEO of Maybrooks, a career resource for mothers says “a returnship is a great way to get some experience and leverage that into a job”.
What are the risks involved? A returnship may sound like a great option but there are definitely drawbacks you must consider. Stacey Hawley, a published author, and career counselor, advises you not to try it. She writes “A Returnship is NOT an internship. And individuals pursuing a returnship are VERY different than individuals pursuing an internship. Interns are usually college students who only WANT to work for 10 weeks. Individuals who are considering a returnship really want to work full time. “ Hawley also reveals that Goldman Sachs hires only 50% of its returnship participants. She warns “if you aren’t hired full-time after the trial period is over, you need to start all over again. And explain to a new employer why you weren’t offered a full-time job.”
If you are considering a returnship, think about the benefits vs. rewards. You may be able to land a full time position at the organization; but it is probably a 50-50 chance. You will likely be able to add some skills to your resume but you could also accomplish that by working for a temporary staffing firm. Also, not all companies pay their returnship participates so evaluate if the experience is worth giving up your pay and time lost in job search activities. Overall, although a returnship may be wonderful for some participants, it is most likely not the best option for the majority of job seekers.