Do you want to know who was heavily against unpaid internships in 2008? ¬†Oh, that would be me. ¬†And what do I mean by, ‚Äėheavily‚Äô? ¬†I guess I mean that I flew across the country to ¬†San Francisco just to inform certain department managers that interns were to be compensated for their work.
Sure, I flew out for many other items of business, but ensuring that interns received their green is really all I can remember from the trip.
But times and workforce situations have changed, and so have I. ¬†My outlook and beliefs are now drastically different. ¬†While I still believe that companies should pay interns for work performed that benefits the company, I see infinite value for students performing internships.
1. Experience:¬† You are nothing without experience. ¬†This is becoming more of a fact as competition for jobs grow. ¬†Want to set yourself apart from your peers? ¬†Gain experience‚Ä¶now!
2. ¬†Your Resume: ¬†Sure, this kind of fits in with #1, but it needs to be mentioned. ¬†Your resume needs to include more than your high school job, GPA, and computer skills.
3. ¬†Learn What You Like: ¬†Take a few internships to discover your career interests. ¬†Trust me, this isn‚Äôt as easy as it seemed during career day.
4. ¬†Learn What You Don‚Äôt Like: ¬†This is probably more important than #3. ¬†Crossing career options off the list should make you smile, because it will help you focus in the long-term.
5. ¬†More Money Later: ¬†Rack up the years of experience and you may have a higher possibility at making more later. ¬†Remember, an internship is an investment!
6. ¬†Lose Your ‚ÄúRookie‚ÄĚ Title: ¬†Wether you work in an office or virtually, the ‚Äúwork day‚ÄĚ experience helps you feel like less of a ‚Äúrookie‚ÄĚ at your first job after college.
7. ¬†Connections: ¬†Your boss, co-workers, clients, and other interns SHOULD be eternal friends and referral sources for you. ¬†Make sure you manage your network with LinkedIn. ¬†You should even connect with company employees you haven‚Äôt met or worked with directly.
8. ¬†School Credit: ¬†Most schools will offer credits for internships. ¬†No kidding, you‚Äôll learn about 10,000% more in the work environment than you will in a classroom.
9. ¬†Find a Mentor: ¬†You never know who might end up wanting to take you under their wing. ¬†Be a sponge and learn as much as you can from anyone willing to share.
10. ¬†What Else Would You Be Doing?: ¬†Honestly, what would you rather be doing? ¬†Drinking? ¬†Partying? ¬†Dancing? ¬†You‚Äôll have plenty of time for all of that!
11. ¬†You Have Time To Kill: ¬†If you plan your college career correctly, you can end up with a pretty free last year of college. ¬†I mean, that‚Äôs what I did anyway. ¬†Fill up your free time with an internship.
12. ¬† They Are Easier to Find: ¬†Let‚Äôs face it, there are more unpaid internships available than paid gigs. ¬†Companies are also quicker to pull the trigger on something unpaid.
Remember that an internship should be seen as an investment. ¬†If you can grab a paid internship for a great company then go ahead and do so. ¬†If not, then rack up a few unpaid internships for all of the reasons above.
Am I missing anything? ¬†Tell us about your favorite internship. ¬†What made it so successful?