"If only I'd known then what I know now..." This familiar statement particularly applies to careers, where success is mostly achieved through experience, trial and error. What if, instead, you had the inside track on what to expect before an experience began?
The common defense of the unpaid internship is that, even if the role doesn't exactly pay, it will pay off eventually in the form of a job. Turns out, the data suggests that defense is wrong, at least when it comes to college students.
It's increasingly important in today's tough job market to get real-world experience on your resume. A good internship gives you a chance to get the skills you need, form connections with future employers, and sometimes make a pretty good salary.
Reader Mailbag on Internships
Reader "CM" writes ....
Just two weeks ago, our human resources department blocked us from taking on an unpaid summer intern. The college student did not have any professional experience, but was trying to do something productive with his summer. My colleague decided to give him a shot. HR blocked the internship for fear of breaking the law.
By the time Ladan Nowrasteh got her masters degree in journalism, her resume was stacked with experience. Her bank account wasn’t nearly as full.
Like many students trying to get a leg up, Nowrasteh, 26, of Falls Church, Virginia, worked a string of unpaid internships while in undergraduate and graduate school. She often had to work part-time jobs simultaneously to pay for things like food and rent.