Why Unpaid Internships Are Worth It

Filed under: Post Grad and Career - BookRenter Team
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by danielmoyle

If you’re like me, as a college student, you’re always scrambling to make a few extra dollars. Although we quickly adapt to the dollar-menu lifestyle that is college living, we’re always looking for a way to live just a little more comfortably.

That’s why many students totally rule out the idea of working for free, under any circumstances.

Fact is, though, that many of the internships out there today are unpaid. So before you rule out an unpaid internship, here are three reasons why accepting one could be well worth laboring for free.

1. It’s great experience. This is the usual selling point for any internship, and with good reason. Interning in the industry you’re interested in working in will provide you with skills that are invaluable – and that can help give you an edge when you’re going for your first job after graduation. You’ll also get a first-hand idea of what a job in the industry of your choice is like, and whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

2. You’ll get to network. One of the great things about interning is that you get to meet a ton of new people, from other interns to the heads of major companies. The connections you make as an intern are super-important: Down the line, one of them may be able to clue you in to a job opening or serve as a professional reference.

3. You might even get a foot in the door. There are a huge number of people who are willing to compete for that extremely rare paid internship. By taking an unpaid internship, you’re showing an employer that money isn’t your main concern, but instead, the work you’ll be doing and the experience you’ll be getting. By showing dedication to the work itself rather than the benefits attached to it, you may have a greater chance at getting your foot in the door with that company.

The important thing to remember about any internship is that it’s your first step into the professional world. Making your mark is important, and there’s no better way to do that than taking your job seriously and giving it 100%. With an unpaid internship, there may not be a paycheck on the line, but your professional reputation is.

By Guest Blogger Angela Andaloro I PACE UNIVERSITY: Smart, ambitious, and committed to the creative life, with a list of personal and professional goals that would stretch from here to the moon and back. Currently a Social Media Marketing Intern in New York City.

12 Responses to Why Unpaid Internships Are Worth It

  1. amy says:

    it’s also fun and you’ll meet like-minded people

  2. Laura says:

    This is some great insight. I’m doing two unpaid internships in NY this summer, and I have no regrets about it! I’m getting really great experience in two different industries!

    Also, I would like to win the free coffee. :)

  3. mary mcmenamy says:

    i need major coffee i can not concentrate

  4. Jenna Mieras says:

    I LOVE coffee!!!!!

  5. Jenna Mieras says:

    I love coffee!

  6. R Penpek says:

    you kidding?! more coffee?! bring it on bookrenter!

  7. Cameron Z. Gregory says:

    I have done internships that did not pay and offered tons of great experience, and others that were just looking for a free person to do their work… not offering to teach or help interns who needed help. :P Coffee is good too!

  8. Amy Brown says:

    Any experience whether paid or not is priceless!!

  9. jacqueline v says:

    my friend did this… got in the door and then was paid big bucks for a job after!

  10. Kathleen says:

    I saw a news piece that said many college grads are still doing unpaid internships to help them land jobs. In this economy jobs are tough to find, and companies get to have you for a trial run before they decide if you are the right person for the position. Paying back loans and working for free is rough, but it’s worth it in the end!

  11. Jana Ziegler says:

    ONE extra cup of coffee??? Puh-leeze!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Lynski says:

    I read a story about a college (Ball State U) senior who interviewed a CEO for a paper he was writing. The next day, HR called this senior and offered him a job. That is a miracle in this job market and speaks so highly on this young man!

    SEND COFFEE!