As college students, many of us are encouraged—sometimes required—to do internships to complete our college degree. In recent years, the number of unpaid internships has skyrocketed, which raises concerns about fairness to students and whether these internships actually lead to jobs.
A recent New York Times article reported that back in 2011, 61 percent of students who worked in a paid internship were offered a job when they graduated, but only 38 percent of students at unpaid internships were offered jobs.
How do you feel about working for free? Some would argue that unpaid internships are simply not worth the workload and the effort you put in to completing various projects and assignments. However, unpaid internships have a lot to offer.
Of course, when we put our best in to a given task, we appreciate and even expect some form of payment or reward in return. After all, you worked hard, and shouldn’t that be recognized? Well, the answer is yes. Internships are a valuable way to gain experience in a given field of work and may be one of the best forms of preparation. Unpaid internships are even more unique in that they reveal more about your work ethic than paid internships.
Unpaid internships are a great addition to a person’s resumé. They can demonstrate your ability to work in a professional environment, follow directions from a superior, and successfully complete tasks.
For the purposes of future employment, these traits are desirable and often times necessary. An employer will be impressed by your ability to do all of these things while receiving no payment. With no monetary motivation, unpaid internships display a person’s passion and enthusiasm for working in a given field. Employers may even be impressed by your drive and therefore confident that you are capable of working for their company or business.
While unpaid internships carry a stigma, the value of working for free and gaining real world experience can not be ignored.