There are few things potential employers rank higher on a resume than experience.
One of the ways for those entering the workforce to obtain experience is through unpaid internships. Before you bash unpaid internships, realize that you are not obligated to work without pay, and second, the experience is valuable. These are the reasons why you shouldn’t write off unpaid internships, especially as a college student.
For one, if you have zero experience in a field (like most college students), you need to be able to prove yourself. You need to be able to prove that your work ethic is where it should be, but, more importantly, you need to be able to demonstrate your passion for your field. Your willingness to work for little to nothing and perform well speaks volumes to employers and could very well set you on a path of long-term employment with a company.
You may be asking, then, why wouldn’t someone just opt for a paid internship instead of wasting their time with an unpaid internship? One might say that working an unpaid internship is pointless when you could be getting paid and gaining the same experience. However, there is a case to be made that experience is still higher in value than the little money a college student would be getting on an intern’s wages. Of course, some, if not most colleges and universities make internships a requirement, and those readily available are unpaid ones.
Some go as far as to say that unpaid internships should be illegal. I find this a foolish thing to suggest. It serves no purpose other than to be entitled, or, at the very least, dramatic.
UGA student and popular social media star, Brooke Miccio, suggested this on twitter saying:
happy #NationalInternDay !! fun reminder that unpaid internships should be illegal thx for coming to my ted talk
— Brooke Miccio (@brookemiccio) July 26, 2018
Unsurprisingly, Miccio’s tweet garnered much attention, mostly from college-aged Twitter users. Her tweet is not the only one of its kind. I have to wonder whether the people that agree with this sentiment about unpaid internships know that they don’t have to work an unpaid internship if they choose not to. Granted, it is sometimes harder to find paid ones, but if you aren’t willing to work to find the paid internships, you probably do not have what it takes to work any internship. Sometimes, all it takes is a Google search or reaching out to your college career center.
In most cases, even if you are not paid in money, the credits you are offered are your pay. They are what will ultimately get you a degree. Your degree, combined with your experience from your unpaid internship, will then get you a job.
Regardless of any person’s opinion, internships ultimately are and have always been about experience. They have never been about pay. I think it says something about my generation that we rush to believe that we should automatically be paid for everything we do. It comes down, to entitlement. Do employers really want entitled interns or even regular employees? My guess is no, and this is something we, as the next generation, should realize is necessary to compete in the job market.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.