Unpaid Internships – The Key to Future Success?

Unpaid Internships – The Key to Future Success?
  • Opening Intro -

    Some people think of unpaid summer internships like they were some kind of prestigious academy all on their own. They are thought of as costly, prestigious, highly competitive, and the key to future success.

    Well, that may be true in some cases, but it isn’t always the case.


Success rate of those who had unpaid internships

Why is that? Unpaid internships are no guaranty of a successful future. According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, 63% of those graduates who had held paid internships got at least one offer of employment. Another 37% who had unpaid internships shared the same rate of success, which is about the same success rate as those who had never done an internship, but had landed jobs anyway (35%). Also, unpaid interns’ median salary was lower than that of those who hadn’t been interns. ($35,721 to $37,087). Those who had done paid internships made more by a lot, beginning at $51,930.

Fear of being left behind

This marks a kind of absurdity prevalent in our culture nowadays. “Everyone is doing it” and people believe that if they don’t succumb they will be left behind. Clearly, the above mentioned statistics show that this just isn’t the case. Perhaps this is a reflections that Millennials just don’t value themselves properly or have the confidence that they can work things out. And why would they? Their every waking moment is over-scheduled. Whether they want to be the scientists of the future or land a spot on the men’s basketball team in college with high hopes of joining the NBA. (Or the women’s basketball team, for that matter.)

How best to find possible internships?

First, check with your academic department and teachers. They generally have connections for possible internships. But act fast. These internships can go fast.

Second, check with your college recruiting office. Companies offering internships will list opportunities with colleges.

Third, check the market. Those companies who are hiring may consider an internship to compliment their needs.

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There is a lot written about how unpaid interns are exploited and how those programs favor the privileged who don’t have to work because their parents can afford to pay for their stint at free labor. However, the crazed competition is dampening the college experience as well. They’re highly focused on getting these unpaid internships, and they are competing for them to the point where they are shutting out other student activities such as enjoying some late-night pizza or going to a college basketball game.

The all-important resume

Students are having to make smart career decisions earlier and earlier. Instead of having fun during the summer, they are thinking about how they can get ahead in life, how that unpaid internship might look good on their resume, instead of just taking a summer off to enjoy life, or working a summer job to help pay for their clothes and books during the next semester. It is unfair that these students should be punished in the future for taking a job that would allow them to make some money now. Being practical should be a marketable skill, just as much, if not more so, than being an unpaid intern at Yves Saint Laurent.


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Categories: Job Search