Monday, October 8, 2012

Unpaid vs. Paid Internships

As I said in my last post, I have had both unpaid and paid internships of different levels. The infographic detailing the cons was very thorough. Now I'd like to share my experiences.

Show Me The Money
Of course everyone wants to be paid for the work that we do. If you are only running coffees as an exchange for college credit to see how the job is done, then you are already being compensated. However, if say you are editing actual documents for a customer at a technical writing internship, then you should be getting paid. I did.

Need Experience?
If you've never had an internship before and haven't held any titles in your chosen career field, you've got to start somewhere. Get your foot in the door.

Once You Pop
Once you begin to get paid for your choice of career (be at an internship or entry-level job), never go back. Not even to something that gives a stipend for travel. You're just lowering your standards and your worth.

Climb the Ladder
Is the unpaid internship competitive with an option for employment? Go for it.

Brand Name
In the instance of the Kane Show, Washington D.C.'s #1 morning show, they don't pay for their interns to answer phones or come in at 4AM. However, dedicated interns get their voice out on the airwaves while reading news, weighing in their opinion, or mixing audio; something usually privileged for talent, celebrities, and lucky callers.

In the End...
Understand, that everyone is fighting for anything they can get right now. Companies are looking on ways to cut back, on how they can get the most for their dollar. When it comes to internships, some companies offer only gas money as reimbursement for real work. While unpaid internships can be real experience, you have to weigh your priorities. Is this your only option? Can you afford it financially? Is the experience or name drop enough compensation? Do they offer any jobs to unpaid interns? Where are there other interns now?

You can always go for an interview and turn it down. Don't feel bad. If you don't take the position, someone else will.

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