Internships are a great way to integrate yourself into any career field. They provide real world experience and the opportunity to understand what career you’re actually interested in. After attending the Elkhart Area Career Center for only 6 months, I started an unpaid internship at a local design firm. Internships don’t only look good on a resume, they come with responsibility and dedication (even unpaid). Unpaid internships are often looked over, but they can be a great way to gain experience.
According to unomaha.edu, “Experience is an important consideration for companies as they look at candidates. Thus, you might be passed up by another candidate with more experience if your other qualifications are similar. So while you might not be making money during an internship, the resume and industry experience benefits from an internship might offset that.”
Another benefit of unpaid internships is networking. Networking (or connections) is essential for finding and maintaining a successful career. Having connections in the industry you’re in might just be the most important part of staying ahead of competing businesses. For example: After ending an internship, you might want more work but don’t know where to get it. Someone who works for the company you interned for, reaches out to you later because of that connection. That person might just give you the perfect opportunity you were looking for.
According to betterup.com, “Building connections with the right people at the right time could be the key to taking your career to the next level.”
Your individual experience with unpaid internships might be different than mine and that’s okay! Maybe unpaid internships might just not be the right fit for you. All in all, an unpaid internship is a great starting point for those just entering the workforce and could very possibly be the avenue for a full time career!