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September 9, 2010 / Suzie

What To Do About Those Unpaid Internships

The economy might be turning around for those nearing graduation, but that doesn’t mean that the job market is hiring left and right. One of the best ways to have an edge over your competition is to have an internships in your field. But is it economical to take an unpaid internship? Before considering whether or not to accept the unpaid internship, please review whether or not it is legal to be unpaid.

Firstly, think about the opportunity cost of accepting this position. That is, will taking the internship limit you from doing other fantastic, money making jobs, or high quality projects that will boost your resume? The unpaid internship should come last if there is a better job or project opportunity.

Next, think about what you’re paying for this internship. Many pay over $1000 a credit for the college to accept the internship. Furthermore, there is the price of gas, lodging, eating off campus, and professional work attire. In summary, the internship is not only unpaid, but will also cost you. Be prepared for that.

However, unpaid internships have the potential lead to phenomenal resume boosters, professional contacts, and maybe even a job offer after college. I do not know a student who would argue that an internship who did that for him/her regretted it, which brings me to my next point.

Would you love the work that you would be doing? If so, take it. You only live once.


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