Do you want to gain priceless experience and learn how to hustle to the top of your career? Consider an unpaid internship this semester.
From the unpaid intern who worked for Fox Searchlight to the hundreds of unpaid interns in Washington, D.C., unpaid internships have been under the scrutiny of federal labor laws. Despite the heat employers have received for their unpaid internship programs this summer, it’s important for college students to not be alarmed. Unpaid internships are as valuable as paid internships; however, it’s what you make of the experience that defines your success.
It’s easy for many college students to lose sight of the value of an unpaid internship. Sure, while you’d like to be making some extra cash doing what you love, you’d be surprised at the amount of experience you can gain working as an unpaid intern. Whether it’s the hands-on experience or improving your time management skills, your career can benefit greatly from an unpaid internship.
If you want to stand out after graduation, then you really should consider an internship (or five) while you’re still in college. Internships – paid or unpaid – provide college students with the hands-on experience needed to land a job after college. The job market is extremely competitive, and the best way to get to the top is through your internships.
Now, if it sounds impossible to accept an internship when you already have a full course load and part-time job on your plate, listen up. If you want to be successful, you need to change your mindset now. Internships are about enhancing your skills, advancing your career and the educational experience – not the money.
By doing an unpaid internship you will be forced to “hustle” as a college student. No, this isn’t the type of hustling you think of when you think of 2Pac – it’s hustling your way to the top of your college career! When you hustle as a college student – you’re doing what it takes to be successful and to stand out amongst your peers. You can do this by taking on an unpaid internship and balancing work, school and your involvement with campus organizations. By doing whatever it takes to maintain this balance, future employers will be extremely impressed by your strong work ethic and credentials.
Carman Plank, a Ferris public relations junior, knows exactly what it takes to succeed as an unpaid intern while attending college. During the previous spring semester she worked as a virtual social media intern for Bad Rhino Inc., a digital media agency based in Philadelphia. Since this was a virtual position, she was able to work as an intern from the comfort of her dorm room while balancing classes, part-time jobs, and numerous student organizations.
“I really gained time management skills from my internship with Bad Rhino, and I appreciated the experience more because it wasn’t all about the pay,” Plank said. Plank continued on to explain that with her unpaid internship, she had to plan everything – from classes to studying – therefore making her unpaid internship an all around rewarding experience.
Plank’s advice to students who are considering unpaid internships is to know what you’re getting into. Even though it’s an unpaid position, you must treat the internship like a real job.
“[Unpaid internships] take up a lot of time and you have to have the ‘experience is pay’ mindset. Scheduling is key, especially if the internship is virtual,” Plank said. “It’s hard to balance internships and class, but it is definitely worth it.”
So the next time you’re tempted to turn down an internship because it’s not paid, you better think again. When turning down this priceless experience, you could be turning down your chance at a successful career! If you don’t want to end up in your parents’ basement after graduation, you need to get out there, hustle, and work as an unpaid intern.