Take responsibility in gaining valuable experience from internships, paid or not

The Vanguard Vision

This week, we highlighted the role that internships can play in students’ careers after graduation.

Although many of us are wary to take internships that don’t pay, we realize that internships offer experience that job shadows and classes can’t.  The “real world” that professors tell us about can be made real through internships.

What many of us don’t realize is that the role of the internship is changing.  Internships aren’t only a way for us to gain experience in what we hope will be our future careers, but internships are becoming a way for companies struggling in the economy to scout out future workers.

In a Nov. 16 article on NPR.org about whether or not internships were free labor, Helana Natt, executive director of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, said that some companies use unpaid internships to screen potential job candidates.

These unpaid internships allow companies to still effectively evaluate candidates after a human resources department doesn’t have the money to do that work anymore from budget cuts.

This piece of information can be of great value to students looking at taking an unpaid internship.  Knowing that a company might be willing to hire you if they notice your work ethic and abilities can make up for the fact that you won’t be paid for all of that hard work.

At the very least, internships give you the opportunity to network with people you never would have networked with otherwise.  These connections can prove valuable in a job search as they can point you to someone who knows someone looking for a good candidate to fill a position.

However, we are in a difficult economy.  Many of us are paying our way through school and can’t afford to take the time and cut to our paycheck just to gain the experience from an unpaid internship.  Sometimes, it just isn’t possible to take the time for an internship because we have responsibilities lying elsewhere.

We highly encourage students to plan ahead so that way they can make internships fit at some point in their college career.  It’s better to have that experience instead of going into the lions’ den after graduation without a clue as to what’s going on, assuming you can even make it into the lions’ den without that experience.

We encourage students to look at the opportunities available in the area and at home for internships.  Many unpaid internships are more flexible with your schedule because you aren’t getting paid.  Internships may also be more readily available in the summer as students go elsewhere to find part-time jobs.

Take the initiative to make yourself stand out in your job search and find an internship, whether it’s paid or unpaid.  It’s up to you to shape how your future is going to play out after you receive that piece of paper you worked hard for during your time at SVSU.  Give yourself the opportunities you need and deserve.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 and is filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Comments are closed.