Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Value of Unpaid Internships

By Kelsey McWilliams, junior journalism major at CU-Boulder

Although unpaid internships may not seem like the ideal option, there is a lot of value to be found in the experience. Our last post, “Have You Applied For a Summer Internship?” talked about the importance in considering internship opportunities whether they are paid or unpaid. Read on for more reasons to consider unpaid internships this summer!

First of all, unpaid internships provide invaluable experience. No matter how much money you could make babysitting or lifeguarding, you can’t put a price on the experience you gain through an internship in your desired field. College is the perfect time to experiment with different companies and find out what career you’d like to pursue after college.

When it comes to your future, an unpaid internship experience can be crucial in the job search. A friend of my recently had a job interview where the employer asked her about her previous internship experience. My friend had just completed an internship at a non-profit organization in Denver, and the interview was thrilled to hear that the position had been unpaid. As the interviewer said, ‘unpaid internships show potential employers that you are dedicated to hard work, not just making money.’

Unpaid internships are also great opportunities to network. The people that you meet during your internship will be potential resources for the rest of your professional career. Not to mention, if a paid position opens up at the company you work for, you’re likely to be one of the first people they consider.

The next time you’re thinking of turning down an internship because it’s unpaid, keep these points in mind. One unpaid internship could lead to the full-time job of your dreams!