Paid vs. Unpaid Internship: What You Should Know before Applying Internship Program

April 25, 20191:43 pm
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Isn’t it tricky when a company requires more than 2-year work experiences for an entry position, while you just graduated from college?

Be it for personal needs or to pay student loan, as a fresh graduate, there are good chances that you want to get a stable job with big paycheck as soon as possible. However, landing a job for new graduate can be quite challenging. Many companies nowadays demand candidates who are experienced to fill certain position, even for entry roles. As consequence, as a fresh grad with limited or zero working experience, your chances of getting noticed and shortlisted could be limited, too.

Nonetheless, you should not worry. You can land a position in your dream company while you are still a student or a fresh grad by applying an internship program. Internship is the fastest way for students to get real work experience in their favourite fields without a personal tie to industry. By doing internship also, you can earn some pocket money as well as practice what you have learnt at school. Joining an internship program  will eventually lead you to better your career life.

See also: 8 Tips to Turn Your Internship into a Full-Time Job

Further, before looking for an internship program, you should know that there are two types of internship you can apply, paid and unpaid. While paid internship will give more benefits as you can receive financial compensation for your hard work, you still need to consider the unpaid one. Why would you apply for unpaid while paid internship is more appealing? According Zina Kumok, being in unpaid position means you will not get more tasks and hurdle like in paid position. That being said, it is better for students who want formal experience before graduation.  

Moreover, Suzanna de Baca at HuffPost suggests that when choosing between paid and unpaid internship, you should consider these circumstances: your financial situation, value of particular position, and how the position is viewed within organization.

Financial situation – When you already have loan and short cash for tuition, books, or even rent, you might want to consider to apply for jobs that can improve your financial condition. De Baca said that employers value relevant experience, but they also impress with individuals who are hardworking and responsible with their finances.

The value of particular position within organisation – Before applying to an internship program, see if it matches your career goals. De Baca advised that it is better to accept internship that suits your career, be it paid or unpaid. Yet, you should not ignore the first point about your financial situation.  

How the chosen position is viewed within organisation – Paid position sometimes will give slight advantage, said de Baca, as it is a position where you work under more structured program. However, if you are committing to unpaid position, you should acknowledge yourself that there is rules and regulation company must follow regarding internship program, de Baca said.

To acknowledge yourself about internship regulation, here are general rules regarding unpaid internship proposed by Department of Labour. The factors for unpaid internship including:

  • Internship should clearly understand that there is no exception of compensation.
  • Internship should benefit intern more.
  • Interns do not displace regular employees, but they work under close supervision of existing staffs.
  • Employers who provide training should derive no immediate advantage from activities of intern, and no occasion its operation might actually be impeded.
  • Interns are not necessarily entitled to a job at conclusion of internship.
  • Employers and interns should understand that interns are not entitled to wages or time spent in internship.

Other than those three circumstances, you should also understand that bottomline, internship both paid and unpaid will benefit you in terms of experience and skill upgrading. Remember, internship is about getting work experience. So, whichever type of internship you apply, you can always gain valuable experience that will help you land actual job in near future. Best of Luck!

Read also: Does it Make Sense to Do an Internship after Graduation?