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Unpaid Internships: Should You Do Them? «

Unpaid Internships: Should You Do Them?

College is a Step on the Career Ladder
Thousands of students enroll in the colleges and universities of the United States of America each year. They are all different people with different ambitions and interests but nearly all of them share a common goal. The students hope to graduate from the college or university in which they are enrolled and achieve an entry-level position in their field of study. There are a number of things that students must do to accomplish this goal. They have to prove to their potential employers that they are qualified for the job and can handle the responsibilities that will be thrust upon them.

Recruiters are looking for the Most Qualified Candidates
The recent recession caused a lot of turmoil and restructuring in the business world. While the picture may look somewhat bleak as many companies lay off a number of employees, it is not all negative. Many of these layoffs require replacement employees and companies are seeking to augment their ranks with fresh recruits from colleges and universities. Given the nature of the recession and the desire for efficiency, they are being more stringent in their hiring policies. Companies are trying to find the most qualified candidates and any advantage that a student can acquire over their competition will certainly help them.

Experience in the Field Helps Tremendously
When an employer seeks to hire a graduate of a college or university they need to know that the candidate is prepared to do the work that will be required of them. The employer has several ways of finding this out: the candidate’s GPA and major, their answers to interview questions, and experience. The first two methods can lead to very similar results, as there will be many candidates with relatively similar grade point averages. Most students prepare for interviews by reading guides and will have prepared remarks to many questions that are standard to the industry. Prior work experience in the field, however, can be priceless for a candidate. Demonstrating that they have already done what they will be doing at the job is of utmost importance.

Unpaid Internships?
While the optimal way to gain experience in your major is to find an internship that pays a salary, this may not be possible. Many industries rarely or never pay their interns. Do not let this deter you from pursuing an internship as the experience and resume boost gained from an internship can be worth much more than the money you are not paid.

What to Look for in the Internship
Not all internships are created equally. There is a significant difference between an internship where you fetch coffee for people all day and one where you are actually assigned meaningful work. Make sure that the one you choose is the latter as you will have to explain your duties at the internship to potential employers and buying bagels for the office does not sit highly on their list of meaningful experiences. Also, try to find an internship where you can easily communicate with the higher-ups. They can help you by answering your questions and providing you with in-depth knowledge.

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