For many freshmen and sophomores in college, getting a paid internship related to their major can be very difficult and unlikely. That is why underclassmen usually take paid jobs that have nothing to do with their career path. What these students do not understand is that there are extreme long-term values in having an unpaid internship that aligns with their career goals.
From a recruiters perspective, it is better to have relevant experience than to have paid jobs that are not relevant to the job you are applying for. Not only will this make you stand out to a recruiter but it will better prepare you for your future opportunities.
If you are someone who never considered applying for an unpaid internship, then this blog will help you understand how the benefits associated with a relevant unpaid internship outweigh the benefits of an irrelevant paid job.
Here’s why you shouldtake an unpaid internship that aligns with your goals rather than a paid job that doesn’t:
An unpaid internship is a learning experience. You will not be expected to have mastered all your skills yet, and that is why there will be plenty of space for you to learn. You will be able to dedicate time to learn more skills and to learn from others working at the company.
Additionally, you will learn more about the industry and get exposure to how companies work in that industry. At the very least, you can observe how the company operates and start to understand what aspects of the company and job interest you most.
You may not realize this but learning what you don’t like is just as important as learning what you do like. Even if you absolutely hate the company and the internship you leave knowing what you don’t want to do, which is better to discover earlier rather than later on in your professional career.
This experience will also start to teach you how you work, what environment motivates you most, and what company culture you like or dislike. It is important to learn this so you can find a job that you will do best in. When finding a job fit for you these are aspects that will guide you.
What you learn from this experience will help you excel in your future jobs, and show hiring managers that you have relevant experience. Taking an unpaid internship gives you the opportunity to take initiative to learn and grow.
After building relationships with your boss and co-workers, you should maintain these relationships. After your internship, your employer might even ask you to come back and continue working full-time.
Even if you do not get asked back, you now have someone to list as a reference and speak positively on your behalf. Also, your employer probably has connections within the industry and they might even help you with future opportunities elsewhere.
Overall, your internship will give you a great way to get your foot in the door and start to build a strong network.Nicole Sorrentino
Biggest Fear: I’ll be doing busy work
One of the biggest fears of taking on an unpaid internship is that you will be doing insignificant tasks like coffee runs, cleaning, and other busywork. While you may have to take on some of these undesired tasks, it is up to you to really take the initiative and make the most of your internship.
If you ask questions and show your interest in learning and doing meaningful work for the company, they will likely give you more responsibility. This is a chance for you to show initiative and prove to the company that you want to be valuable.
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