It may seem like a crazy idea, working for free, how could that possibly benefit you? But the truth is there are a huge number of pros when it comes to taking (or at least considering) an unpaid internship.
Sure, you won’t be receiving that cash money for your time but if you do a great job during your internship it will 100% give you increased opportunities for the future and for you career path. Paid internships do exist but they are quite hard to come by in some fields and if you are at school the thought of not getting paid for your time might seem a little daunting but the end goals have to be the priority here so read on to see why the Unpaid Internship might just be better than money in the bank.
1. It can help you work out what course to do at uni or what path to take when you finish your degree
Did you know that 30% - 50% of uni students are undecided on what they want to do when they finish uni? And a staggering 75% of students change their degrees at least once during their time at uni. Yikes! So yes, you are not alone in your quest for career clarity, so by taking time out to get real, hands-on experience you are saving yourself the headache (and cost) involved with swapping your degree mid-way through. An internship will give you the freedom to essentially ‘try before you buy’ and see whether this really is the career you want before you have to commit fully to that degree or job. The last thing you want is to end up in a career you hate because it’s what you thought you wanted, which is why an internship is a great way to test the waters before you jump in head first.
2. Your resume will thank you
If you only take one thing from this blog, let it be this. You resume is one of the most important qualities employers will look at when deciding on applicants and who to bring in for interviews. So taking on an internship can provide you with valuable experience and set you aside from the influx of job seekers who are all applying for the same role. It shows that you are not only committed to the job but that you are also a go-getter and those qualities are invaluable to employers when the time comes to hire.
3. It’s a great way to make friends within your field and also start to build connections in your network
As the saying goes ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ and internships give you an incredible opportunity to tap into a network you never thought possible. An internship will give you the opportunity to meet incredible people from all walks of life who could become anything from a friend, to a mentor sometime down the track. Meet people, be present and stay in touch. You never know when you might need a letter of recommendation or a helping hand to get a job or get into a specific course you want to study.
4. Your internship could lead to a paid full time job or even a job down the track once you have completed your studies
Guess what, 75% of large companies are seeking interns because they want to find full time employees in the future. So if you are enthusiastic and show initiative you could be the one offered a full-time job once your internship is coming to an end.
5. You will learn valuable life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom
You’re going to have to think and learn on your feet, but what better way to learn than to hit the ground running. Working as an intern will teach you how to work in a team environment, how to get along with and listen to a diverse group of people’s needs and expectations of you, and will no doubt develop your people skills by conversing with people over email and phone. An internship will broaden your horizons in so many ways while also giving you the freedom to make the correct choices for your career and study options and at the same time, provide you with hands-on experiences (which is priceless in itself)!
Photo by Studio Republic on Unsplash