10 Reasons Why Unpaid Internships Are Equally Important

Sunset of the Forbidden City, Beijing (northwe...

Sunset of the Forbidden City, Beijing (northwest cornor of the Forbidden City) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10 Reasons Why Unpaid Internships Are Equally Important

In the toss-up between paid or unpaid relationships, paid internships usually win out for a number of reasons. One main reason is that not everyone can afford an unpaid internship. Another reason is that most people look at money as the only form of compensation. Here’s why unpaid internships are equally important and good.

1. Good Branding

An unpaid internship usually offers good branding, by showcasing you as a young professional, rather than as a per-hour intern. Looking good on paper helps boost your confidence and your ability to succeed.

2. Your Dedication Shows

When you take an unpaid internship, you’re pretty much declaring that you’re doing it for the training and the experience, and not for the money. Your employer gets to appreciate your dedication and attitude, which means doors open for you in terms of opportunities.

3. Unpaid Internships Are Actually Apprenticeships

You have the opportunity to become truly skilled in specific areas within your industry when you take up an unpaid internship. Since the company doesn’t pay you, by law it’s required to offer you more training hours and fewer work hours. You get to benefit in terms of training and experience.

4. Higher Chance Of Securing Good References

You can add some really good work experience to my resume, and also ask for good references when you leave. If you’ve done your job well, and demonstrated the right kind of professionalism, your superiors will have no issue writing letters of reference for you. It’s the least they can do.

5. There Are Plenty Of Valuable Perks To Be Had

Unpaid internships pay in kind, via connections, references, work experience and so on. Among tangible benefits, you can ask for transport allowance or use of company transport, college credit, housing assistance, library memberships, and access to important resources and so on.

6. You Can Ask For Flexible Schedules

Since they’re not paying you, they cannot ask you to do a 9 to 5 and 60 hours a week. Most unpaid internships offer flexible schedules. This allows you to deploy your time the way it works for you, and perhaps get a part time job on the side.

7. You Can Demand Substantial Work

They are not paying you, and you’re doing them a favor by working for free. So feel free to ask for substantial work, serious responsibilities and participation in good projects. As long as you can prove you’re capable, they shouldn’t refuse you.

8. You Have The Chance To Work On Serious Projects

Nonprofit organizations usually offer unpaid internships because they are strapped for resources. However, the plus side here is that at times they depend on interns to manage projects. Intern or employee, everyone is required to pitch in and do what they can. You will gain a lot of valuable, relevant experience this way.

9. You Will Get Greater Work Exposure

Companies that offer unpaid internships are usually non-profits and small businesses. These companies have diverse creative interests, as they are not limited by large-scale corporate policies. A single team will be working on multiple diverse projects, which means you can get a varied experience to add to your resume.

10. You Can Choose To Terminate Ahead Of Time

In a paid internship, you’ll have to toe the line for longer, because in most cases they’ll ask you to sign an offer for a fixed period. Unpaid internships are not entirely legal, and there will be no hold on you. This doesn’t mean you can come and go as you please. However, if you need to take a break to do another job, or perhaps want long leave to tend a sick parent, you can avail it.

Rabby works for Tictwo.com, a company that conducts orientation classes for interns in China, including mandarin coaching, training in cooking Chinese cuisine and exposure to Chinese culture.

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