Unpaid Internship – Yay or Neigh?

Intern! Get me some coffee! After following a lively discussion about unpaid internships over at 20 Something Bloggers, I think it's time that I weigh in with my own thoughts. I used to be adamantly against unpaid internships—and I still am in certain cases. The relationship should be mutually beneficial—if you are working as an unpaid intern and all you're doing is answering phones, that's an abuse of the relationship. There are two factors that must be accounted for before accepting an unpaid internship.
  1. You should be receiving college credit for the experience.
  2. The role should provide you with real and valuable experience—not just look good on paper.
That said, paid versus unpaid internships often depend on the market you're in. From what I've seen, if you intern in a big city for a big agency, you're more likely to get paid, and you'll have a better guarantee of hands-on experience. This is not to say that some smaller markets and agencies can't offer the same, but as you plan your path through college and on into your career, it may be worth exploring a summer in another city, if that's where you'll find the experience that's right for you. Resources What do you think? Have you, or would you, accept an unpaid internship? Photo Source: David Boyle

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