We hear it all the time: are unpaid internships really worth your time and effort? Of course, there are pros and cons to taking on any internship, so read on as we shed some light on the wonderful world of internships and why you should say yes to that unpaid gig this year.
Creating a Superior Resume
A good resume showcases what you bring to the table. We encourage a strong blend of job and work experience, internships, shadowing, volunteer experience, education, certifications, skills, accomplishments, and anything else that shows that you are qualified for whatever job you apply for. You should always be honest about your skills and experiences, so in order to get a leg up on the competition, try to diversify and cover all your bases.
The Benefits of Experience
In addition to the obvious benefit of being able to add your experiences to your stand-out resume, experience in a field enables you to find out what you like, learn more about the field (and maybe a particular job), and ultimately decide if it is what you really want. Pursuing a degree or field without knowing what it is really about can end in wasted time and disappointment. The more you know about your desired career field, the better prepared you will be to handle the ups and downs that are sure to come with any career.
The Power of an Internship
Internships are the perfect way to get experience in a field in which you are interested. They are usually set for a finite amount of time, giving you an end date. This helps you stay on track as far as managing your time and achieving your goals. Interns are given a designated position to learn, grow, and develop, giving you a good overview of the job and a way to get insight and experience. An official learning period like an internship looks fantastic on a resume, both because it shows that you are serious about your field and career development and because it opens doors for more in-depth interview questions and discussion points. Invaluable knowledge and experience can be gained from internships.
Paid vs. Unpaid
While is it obviously nice to be compensated for your time, the overall goal of an internship is experience, learning, growth, and having something to add to your resume. The advantage you will gain in your future endeavors is well worth the sacrifice of working unpaid hours. If it comes down to you and another candidate for a job at the company you’ve always wanted to work for, every little advantage helps.
Should You Say Yes?
If at all possible with your current schedule and financial situation, we recommend taking that internship in your field, even if it is unpaid. A small sacrifice now will more than pay off in the long run. The ability to build a resume that will open doors to your dream job can start with the internship you take now. Be sure to research the internship, the company, the hours and expectations, and the details of your commitment. See if the internship can count as credit towards college hours. If you do an outstanding job, an internship can also result in a powerful letter of recommendation that might get you that future job.
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