Unpaid Internships

by pkmcr

Working free for someone? Don't dismiss Unpaid Internships out of hand because they can be a great way to get incredibly valuable experience at no cost and you may get expenses!

Are you a teenager who is looking to start their career or even perhaps someone a little older who is thinking of changing careers after years in a different industry?

Whilst some may question what they think of as "working for free" there are are many benefits to taking one of the unpaid internships.

Some may think that the idea of working for free is a waste of time, however these unpaid internships can provide many valuable benefits that cannot be measured simply in terms of a monthly payslip.

The Benefits of Unpaid Internships

What is Internship?

With Unpaid internships you can get the opportunity to try out a field of work before you decide to invest your time and money into any associated training and education.  You can also gain real experience; get the opportunity to find out how an industry really works and learn what it takes to be successful in that field. 

As you may be aware, when you have little or no experience in a field of work, it can be incredibly difficult to find a paying position especially in today's economy.  However, if you are willing to put in a little time for free, you can to gain experience and make it easier to secure future jobs because you will have additional experience to add to your resume.

While you will not be earning money, you will be learning about a possible new career from the inside.  Think about the one of the other benefits of an unpaid internship in terms of the invaluable contacts you make.

That is a real plus for anyone whether just starting their career or thinking about changing career.  If you decide to continue working in the industry you take your unpaid internship in, then you are going to have the advantage of having met people who may be able to help you with finding future paid roles. 

It’s not uncommon than someone undertaking an unpaid internship then moves on to become a full member of staff, once the terms of the internship are completed.  You shouldn't rely on this happening but even if there’s no position for you a the end of the internship, you will now have network of people who will be able to steer you in the right direction for paid employment.

One of the other major benefits of an unpaid internship, is that you will be able to get a valuable reference for your resume and future job applications.  References are important and if you have worked in a similar environment as an intern, then you will have a definite advantage.

Let's not forget that an unpaid internship could also help you to discover that a career isn’t for you.  So rather than finding yourself in a career or with than employer that you discover isn't for you, you can test the waters as an unpaid intern.  While you may well discover that you’ve found the perfect career, equally you may find that it’s not for you before you have invested too much time and energy.

There are lots of benefits to an unpaid internship when paying work is hard to find because you lack experience or indeed because of the economy.  If you are finding that there are obstacles to securing paid work don't let it stop you out moving into dream career area.  Take advantage of an unpaid internship and use it as a stepping stone to the career of your choice.

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Updated: 06/22/2014, pkmcr
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pkmcr on 06/02/2011

AJ very much so although they could be incredibly useful for folks here in the UK. The unfortunate thing is that they have had a really bad press associated with some Parliamentarians of late

AJ on 06/02/2011

Paul, am I right in thinking that unpaid internships are more common in the US? I can see how they are a good idea but I think anyone offering them has to be clear about what they are offering and the benefits to both parties before anyone gives any undertakings.

tandemonimom on 06/01/2011

Internships are a great resource for homeschoolers! (And others, too.)

CherylsArt on 06/01/2011

Internships are a great way to receive valuable training.

Stazjia on 06/01/2011

Interesting - I can see the benefits of an internship especially nowadays when jobs are hard to find particularly for young people with little or no experience.

Dianne on 05/31/2011

Interning is a great way to gain experience and see if the field is really for you. Nice presentation!

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