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Should You Take An Unpaid Internship?

Money is important but...

BY Agnes Amondi

Apr 19, 2023, 07:18 AM

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If you are a university student, you might be thinking about searching for internships or perhaps you have already received offers and you are weighing your options. 

One of the things you are likely to encounter is that most of your opportunities will be unpaid, a reality that we don’t like but have to face.

Most of you swear that you will never take such opportunities because you know your worth and will not make any adjustments to your stand no matter what.

Understandably so. None of us wants to spend at least eight hours in a company that is not ready to compensate us, let alone not pay for transportation and lunch.

What should you do? We examine the potential benefits of doing an unpaid internship.

Build Your Resume.

A lot of students and graduates complain about employees asking for at least a year of work experience when applying for an entry-level position. Well, you can fulfil that by taking unpaid internships. 

Depending on how many you do, you might have four to 12 months of work experience to write about on your resume

The size of the company doesn’t matter. It’s what you learn and how you can demonstrate this on your resume to convince a potential employer to invite you at least for an interview. 

An Insight Into Your Career.

Some students choose careers without any meaningful information about them. Perhaps it sounds cool to pursue a science course or a humanities course. Maybe your parents forced you into registering for a course. Whatever made you choose your career, you need to know what it’s all about.

That is where internships come in. It will challenge you to remove the rose-tinted glasses and see your job for what it is. 

If you don’t like the demands that come with it, you have time to make a change. If you like it, perfect, then you know what’s expected.

A Pathway To Full-Time Employment.

Some people who are now working as full-time employees started out as interns. They might have been absorbed by the first company they joined or went elsewhere and finally landed a contract. 

You need to remember that some companies use their internship programs as a recruitment tool and thus, you working for them for a period of three months for free might just end up being advantageous in the long term. After all, you are familiar with their working environment and house rules.

Networking Opportunites.

I know you can do this in many other ways, especially in this day and age of social media. That said, working alongside experienced professionals opens you up to a lot more than just the work at hand. 

You can get a few minutes to side chat with someone you admire and more importantly, you have the opportunity to create a relationship with people in your industry. 

Sending someone you look up to a direct message is totally different to having them in front of you. You are more likely to be top of mind, especially, if you make a good impression.

Adjust Yourself To The Professional Environment.

A lot of students are hardly prepared for the corporate world. It takes us time to adjust to a lot of things from dressing to the speed of working. 

You can combat these struggles by going for internships as you will be expected to abide by certain rules such that by the time you are looking for a full-time job, you will not be shocked by the corporate culture. You will simply gel in like a well-oiled machine. 

All in all, whether you choose to take an unpaid internship, it’s entirely up to you. We recognise the difficulties that come with that so if you have any offers or are considering applying for one, we hope that this post will help you to make an informed decision.