Today, there are more college graduates in the workforce than ever before. As a result, it’s harder for a student to find a worthwhile job after graduating. A university diploma is no longer enough to start a career. Employers don’t want to pay to train someone for a job. Instead, they look for candidates who are familiar with the position they need to fill. That means companies avoid applicants who are fresh out of college. So, graduates can’t gain experience without being hired, yet they can’t get hired because of their lack of experience.
There are three ways to break this cycle. The first is simply persevering – applying for as many positions as possible, improving your resume, looking for other opportunities, etc., until you get hired. The second option is to fill a temporary position or apply to be a paid intern. Lastly, you can look for an unpaid internship program that will allow you to gain industry experience without being an actual employee.
When is an internship the best option?
The problem with unpaid internships is – most graduates can’t afford working for free. Student loans aside, not everyone has trust funds or other means of supporting themselves during those three-nine months. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee of landing a job with a company after completing an internship program. In 2013, the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) conducted a nationwide survey, which revealed that only paid internships increase a graduate’s chance of being offered a job.
Unpaid internships cause social and economical issues in the country as a whole. Because not everyone can afford them, employers who host unpaid interns are actively furthering income inequality. Interns are often harassed by corporate employees because they aren’t protected by any laws that apply to paid staff. There have been countless cases of discrimination and abuse of interns but none had any legal implications because of their unofficial employment status.
That being said, paid internships are almost as hard to land as job offers. Plus, the most successful, largest companies of any industry don’t pay their interns. As such, a paid internship will likely not be provided by your dream employer. As for persevering, it can be highly time-consuming, challenging and may lead to a dead end. So, if you can afford it, an unpaid internship may be just right for you.
What are the benefits being an unpaid intern?
First and foremost, internships are a great way to gain experience (and not just in your resume). Being able to observe the inner-workings of a company isn’t something you can do in college. Furthermore, you’ll see some of the leading professionals in your field do what they do best. Even if you land an entry-level job at that same corporation, you won’t have as much insight about it for years to come.
As long as you’re interested in your field of study, being an intern is bound to be an exciting experience. In addition to that, there are a few opportunities that open up only during an internship. Here are a few things that can advance your career before you ever land a job:
During their time with a company, interns have constant opportunities to make new friends. Entry level employees don’t get to network with their bosses in the same ways. Plus, most long-time industry professionals can help you with employment if you really impress them.
By getting an inside look at a company’s highest-ranking members, interns can get a sense of what to aim for or, possibly, what to avoid. Performing a wide range of tasks serves as a “career compass” – a way to find the profession that’s just right for you.
Just because a certain company is as likely to hire you off the street as they are after you complete their internship, doesn’t mean the experience doesn’t increase your chances of being hired. Everyone at a large company can give your resume an edge with a recommendation letter or, better off, by referring you to another company.