3 Reasons Why You Can Afford An Unpaid Internship

While many experience in college are unique others aren’t anything but. One undying similarity between us college students is the classic dilemma or modernity’s cruel joke surrounding work experience. The classic dilemma can be summarized in one short sentence,

You can’t land a job without experience, but can’t get experience without a job.

Thus the unpaid internship was born.

considering college internships

Now you may view unpaid internships as some sort of new modern day slavery. Honestly, I can’t full-heartedly say I blame you. Many people bypass unpaid internships because, well… money talks! But in this jobs climate, can you afford to go unpaid? Does going unpaid temporarily, actually further your career options? The answer to both questions in short is, Yes. But don’t just take my word for it.

Below I have listed 3 Reasons Why Unpaid Internship Might Still Be An Option For You


1.  Boost Your Chances Of Find A Job

Higher chance of receiving a job offer with internship experience.

Candidates with internship experience had a 42 percent likelihood of receiving an offer, compared to only 30 percent of students who had no internship experience. While 12% isn’t an astronomical amount it can make a world of difference when it comes down to competing for jobs after graduation.

2. Less Experience Less Money

Graduates with internship experience tend to receive significantly higher starting salaries.

Median starting salary of applicants in 2009:

• With internship experience on their resume: $41,580

• No internship experience: $34,601

For the math disabled or communication majors (only kidding) thats a $6,979 difference.

Note: Only work for free if the position is in a field of interest and if you are gaining worthy experience from being in the position. Getting people coffee 25hrs/weeks is not an internship… it’s bitch work.

how to land an internship

3. It’s About Who You Know

Most jobs are found through people you know.

Some experts say 70%. In the most competitive markets, the number could even be higher than that.

  • Internships can expand your professional and social network, especially those in your desired industry.
  • Someone employer has worked with > A resume without a face or personality

* statistics taken from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2010 Student Survey

Related: Top 25 Oddest Job Interview Questions Asked in 2011

Related: How To Write A Resume (Must Read)

Luckily, what we have here is a false dilemma, at least in most cases. Plenty of options exist, in fact, and often go unconsidered by most of us.

3 Things That Can Offset Unpaid Internships

  • Take the hit on student loans and adjust your financial aid package.
  • See if you can receive credit for the internship
  • Apply for a stipend at your university’s career services.
  • Consult HR or career services and see if the company will cover travel expensive or possibly give you a small stipend.

You can always reduce your payments in the first few years if you have to.

Some times we have to make sacrifices and going the extra mile while working in a field or company that you aspire to work in is always worth it. Remember though the market is getting better, finding a job—one in your desired field, no less—is no easy thing.


Maximillian Garland | Bright Futura Columnist

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