Young job seekers right now are in the midst of their summer internship search. Many may have already turned their applications in. While young job seekers hope to land an internship that pays, there’s a possibility they won’t receive any compensation for the work they do this summer. This may come as an inconvenience considering how living as a student on a budget is hard enough, but unpaid internships do pay in other ways.
An unpaid internship is the most educational course you’ll ever take for college credit. As much as you may have learned in your core major classes, nothing beats having real hands-on experience in the career field you’re interested in. It’ll take what you have learned in class and put your skills to the test. You may find out that you don’t have the necessary skill set just yet, but the great thing about internships is that they are the perfect way to learn and navigate through the industry in which you’ll work.
During the internship, you’ll have your first experience with learning the ins and outs of working in an office. You’ll learn what really goes on from 9 to 5 and this will test for the future whether you’d like to work in the type of office you’re interning at. The great thing about internships is that they’re a short commitment, so if the summer at a certain organization didn’t impress you, then you can move on to look for a job in a different kind of office.
An internship, whether paid or unpaid, looks great on your resume for a future job search because it shows that you were productive during your summer. Also, during your internship, make sure you network with the people you work with. Keep them in mind to write you future job recommendations because you never know who might be able to help you out. Finally, if you play your cards right, you may even receive a job offer from your internship once you graduate from college.
Internships are almost required nowadays in all job fields for post-graduates. I’d argue an unpaid internship is just as rewarding as having one that is paid. It might be even more rewarding considering the type of budget-managing skills you’ll have developed once it’s over.
Don’t pass up an internship just because it is unpaid. If it’s related to your career of choice, I recommend you take it. You’ll learn about what it takes to work in that particular job field, add great experience to your resume and leave with many strong contacts. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself and where you want to go with your career. It could be that you had a certain job in mind once you started the internship but by the end of it you have a change of heart. But that’s the beauty of internships, they’re a good trial-run for job seekers.
Would you agree or disagree that an unpaid internship is more rewarding compared to a paid internship? Start the debate in the comments below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by danielmoyle