Should You Join Unpaid Internship?

Should You Join Unpaid Internship?

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In this article, I will be answering the most common questions related to Unpaid Internships and discuss when you should accept or reject the offer!

Before jumping on to the main content, let me put a big disclaimer, if you are paying the company for internship then it's a course or training, it's not an internship.

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Here is a quick checklist that should help you to compare different factors,

  • Mentor - During the entire internship journey, you will work with several people but your mentor is the only person that can 10x the experience of the entire internship. Be it the project you are working on, teams you are going to work with or the responsibility you get in future, one good mentor can change the entire internship experience.
  • Role Offered - Since you are diving into a non-paid opportunity, make sure you enter the right space. I have seen students changing their streams just to get an internship. Will you work as a Digital Marketer if your end target is Web Development? Just make sure that your role is related to your niche, even if you are not paid in monetary terms, you will definitely get paid in terms of experience.
  • Company Name - One underrated factor that most students miss out these days is the name. Once you are connected with a brand name, your resell value multiplies for the next opportunity. One quick example in this digital age is FAANG employees, no matter what they do now, they have pretty good resell factor 'The FAANG', for more stories on this, just jump onto YouTube and search 'FAANG'. :)
  • Full-Time Offer - Make sure to do some research about future opportunities. A big bunch of companies usually offer pre-placement or full-time opportunity to deserving candidates. You can ask previous interns or employee on LinkedIn about full-time opportunities for deserving interns.
  • Learning Curve - No matter which company you join, just make sure you have one of them throughout the journey, learning or earning. Since the internship is non-paid, make sure your learning curve is sharp in the journey!
  • Future Referrals - With every internship, chances for future job referrals increases. During the entire internship journey, you meet several folks, some are converted as friends and some as LinkedIn connection well all these connections have personal touch because you know them personally or at least interacted with them somehow so all these connection are your potential job referrals. Even after years, if they have an opportunity or open position, they will happily recommend you without thinking twice.
  • Experience Matters - No matter which company you join, if it's a niche internship then the experience you get during the 2 months or 6 months timeframe will be easily 10x than any online course or bootcamp. You not only get your subject experience but real-life communication skill, interaction with professionals as well as understand the strong and weak point of the system which most students miss out!
  • Expenses - Since your internship is unpaid, all expenses will be covered by you directly or indirectly and this totally depends on your lifestyle, consider doing a rough calculation if you have to move to a different city according to the internship requirement.

That's all the common checklist point I strongly recommend everyone to consider before accepting or rejecting an offer. In the end, I just want to mention, "A niche unpaid internship experience is still better than an empty experience section in the resume!"

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