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Are Unpaid Internships Worth It?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Fit speacialist Rosa Tung works at Malia Mills, an upscale women's wear manufacturer, at the company's offices at Industry City on October 3, 2014 in the in Brooklyn borough New York City. Industry City, located in one of Brooklyn's oldest manufacturing hubs, consists of 16 renovated buildings housing 400 businesses and employing an estimated 3,000 workers. Friday was National Manufacturing Day. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

People tend to steer clear of unpaid internships only because of the obvious fact that they are unpaid. However, they can help people test the waters and even gain experience in their respective fields.

Growing up

Unpaid internships can be a great stepping stone for someone who hasn’t had a job yet or who wants to build their resume. An internship will expose you to all the things that are involved with a job from the way you present yourself to developing strong people skills. Internships can really help a person grow and become responsible for themselves in the workplace.

Figuring out your future

A lot of people decide to apply for internships because they want to try out something new or test the waters on what they think might be their profession in the future. Unpaid internships serve the same purpose. Internships also have the potential to help you find a career in the future. Internships allow you to decide whether that class you took last semester actually interests you in the real world.

Getting your foot in the door

While some people are deterred from unpaid internships because of not being compensated for the work they do, unpaid internships can actually have a huge impact on your future. Simply gaining more work experience will automatically help expand your resume, but some unpaid internships recruit straight from their group of interns. This instantly makes you a potential candidate to become a paid employee.

Making friends

Another huge benefit of unpaid internships is that you have all the more reason to build your network! Just having the internship means you will constantly be around a group of professionals who may be able to help you advance in your career. Knowing people makes an incredible difference in the amount of jobs available to you, so get to know some of your coworkers and make a good impression!

Don’t be afraid to try something new

If you start to feel like the field you’re working in is not for you, don’t just throw in the towel and quit! Having jobs out of your comfort zone can really help you in the long run. Also, don’t be afraid to explore! Maybe there’s another part of the company that interests you more than the one you work in now; try to become as versatile as possible. Versatility is something that all employers want whether you’re getting paid or not.


Although unpaid internships may not be everyone’s first choice, they are great ways to become more experienced in your future field of work as well as create a network for yourself. Regardless of the fact that you won’t get paid, you will gain a lot of useful experience and resources that will ultimately help you in the future.

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Header image: Getty Images

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