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The Pros And Cons Of Unpaid Internships


While you are on break from school, are still in school, or you're simply looking for or trying to break into a new line of work, you will hear a lot about unpaid internships. Most internships these days require you to apply and show a company's recruiter that you would be the best candidate, regardless of being paid or not. Before you start planning to apply for the internships and before you start stressing about it, you should decide whether or not an unpaid internship is right for you.   So rather than prepare for the rigorous interviews, you should first consider the pros and cons of an unpaid internship.   We've listed a bunch here.

Pros of an unpaid Internship

There are several good things about an unpaid internship that you should understand before you make a decision.

You can get college credits

Many internships will compensate the lack of money with 2 college credits. If you are through with your credit point system, this may not be very helpful. If you still need college credit, an unpaid internship could be an excellent opportunity. Having extra college credits can make the remaining years of your college experience a bit less stressful.

New experience

While you are not getting paid for the internship, it will still give you a chance to see what it is like to work in your chosen field. This is not something that you could get from a textbook or in a classroom.

Job opportunity

If the company that you interned for is planning to hire, you would likely be their top choice. If you have already interned, they would not need to spend the time and money to train you since you have already been there. You would definitely have a lead over the competition.

Creating a network

When you have an unpaid internship, you will have a chance to meet experts in your field. If you are able to impress these people, it can open up a variety of opportunities after you graduate. There is no better way to impress someone than letting them see what you are capable of.

Help to make career decisions

If you think that you are interested in a certain career due to what you learned in school, you could feel completely different when it comes to actually being on the job. When you take an unpaid internship, it will give you a chance to see what it is like to actually do the job. This will give you a chance to see if you will actually enjoy working in the field of your choice.

Learning beyond your chosen field

When you take an unpaid internship, you will be doing a variety of different things for different people. Chances are you will have a chance to handle tasks for people in different departments, giving you the opportunity to learn new things and find out if there are other things that might interest you.

Cons of an Unpaid Internship

While there are some great things about taking an unpaid internship, there are also some drawbacks. Before you make a decision, you should consider the downside of taking these internships.

No money

The most obvious drawback to an unpaid internship is that there is no money. You could be spending your time off from school working a part-time job where you can get paid. Unless you are financially stable enough to work for free, you may not be able to consider an unpaid internship.

Legal issues

There are some experts who consider an unpaid internship illegal. There are some companies who exploit the talents of their interns for free. Before you consider an unpaid internship, you should do some research on its legality.

Unfair advantage of work

There are some companies who are using these internships to get work done for free and without needing to offer benefits. This saves them money, but won't help you at all. You could be taking an unpaid internship when you could get the same experience through a paid internship or a part time job. In the end, you could be taking a risk.

Narrowed opportunities

While the experience of an unpaid internship can help you get a job, it can also hold you back. If it is between you and someone who had a paid internship, the person who was paid will be more likely to get the job.

Fewer working rights

If you take on an unpaid internship, you won't have the same rights as the actual employees. This can result in being overworked, discriminated against, and even harassed. Because you are not a true employee, you will have no legal recourse if you find yourself in a bad situation.

Lower future income

If you take an unpaid internship, you could end up getting lower offers when you are ready to start a career. There are employers who will see that you were willing to work for free, therefore, they don't need to offer you much money to actually work for them.

They won't improve your financial situation

To get a jump on the extensive student loans they have looming over their heads, many students get part-time jobs. If you take an unpaid internship, you won't earn any money. When you finish school, you won't be ahead of the game the way many of your peers will be.

Not all unpaid internships put you in your career path

There are some unpaid internships that require you to file, get coffee, and do other tasks that have nothing to do with your chosen field. While you can say that you interned at a company of your choice, you might not learn much. If you are in a paid internship, the company won't want to waste the money paying you to do menial jobs.

Final words

If you hear about an unpaid internship or you are offered one, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of the internship before you accept. In the end, the decision is based on what you need and what you want at the moment and for your professional future.

Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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