Paid vs. Unpaid Internships: What You Should Know
Taking on an internship is a great way to gain some practical experience in your chosen career. Getting a college degree looks great on paper, but if you want to stand out against all the other applicants when it comes to getting your foot in the door and landing that first job, then an internship is the way to go. This begs the question, is it better to opt for a paid internship or an unpaid internship? The answer might just surprise you.
For most students, this might seem like no-brainer – a paid internship will help you pay for that student housing. Peterborough area students, in particular, might look for an internship position near Severn Court Residence, a convenient, fully furnished off-campus housing option. Yet, while a paid gig is a nice option, it’s not always the right one.
Of course, the most obvious difference between these two types of internships is the exchange of money for the work. But there is actually more to it than just that. Unpaid internships usually have to meet stronger guidelines in order for them to be eligible for college credit, which means you often come away with more practical and valuable experience at the end. Paid internships do land you with some cash for your work, but you could end up fetching coffee and learning very little while on the job.
With this in mind, here are some questions you should ask before choosing a paid or unpaid internship:
What Do You Want To Get Out Of It?
This is probably the most important question to ask. If you are looking to increase your opportunities for getting a job in the future and collecting hands-on experience, then an unpaid internship may be the best option for you. It’s often the smaller businesses that offer these types of internships, as they may not have the funds to pay.
Being on a small team will give you lots of practical experience that you wouldn’t get from a larger firm. If you really need money to support yourself, then there’s nothing wrong with taking on a paid internship. Yet, it’s important to recognize the limitations on this type of internship and accept them before going ahead.
Want For Your Career?
The next thing to consider is what sort of career you want to take on. An internship isn’t just about valuable experience, but it’s also a great way to forge connections in the industry. If you are studying journalism, for instance, but want to get into music journalism, then it’s worthwhile to go for an unpaid internship in the highly competitive music industry. This way, you can gain experience in the area you are interested in and make valuable contacts at the same time. When it comes time to hunt for a paying job, many of these contacts will be willing to help you out.
What Is Available?
Have you ever heard the saying, “beggars can’t be choosers?” In the end, you may not even have a say in your internship opportunities. The best thing you can do is choose one you’re interested in and give it your best shot. Just like you would for any job interview, you need to act professionally and put your best foot forward. Focus on selling yourself to the business and showing them why you would make such a valuable asset to their business.
Choosing an internship can be a pivotal decision for your future. Whether your internship is paid or unpaid, you can use this stepping stone to further your career and gain valuable knowledge and experience in the industry. No matter what you decide, aim to make the most of whatever opportunity presents itself.