Everyone has heard the horror stories: From never-ending coffee runs, to day long activities of stuffing envelopes or making copies, not all internships are as glorified as they look on the job posting. As a result, it was not a surprise when one of my family’s friends recently asked me the question “Is an unpaid internship worthwhile?”
In a typical environment, I might think twice before taking an unpaid position. However, due to our current state, the unpaid internship can make more sense than a typical student would think.
Looking at the current job market, this recession has made profit margins tighter than ever for most companies. The result: companies either cutting back on their internship programs as a way to cut costs, or making their internships unpaid. As a result of this, while students may not want to hear it, we should expect to see an increase in unpaid internships this fall.
Why should your child consider an unpaid internship? The most important reason is often the opportunity to learn the skills required in their desired field, and find the career that they're looking for. The ability to learn can be way more valuable than the $15 / hour salary that they could get at a different position. Making money during their internship learning experience is just icing on the cake.
From an experience perspective, the pay for the position has no indication of the skill learned there. Whether the position is paid or not will not have any implications on the resume of your child or the networking opportunities that may come as the result of the position.
But if the cost is still an issue, consider the often-overlooked opportunity to use an unpaid internship to get course credit at your child’s university. Many universities have this option available, however the number of students utilizing this opportunity is still relatively small.
Putting this in perspective, courses at most schools and universities are ranging from $3,000 - $6,000 per class. If your child has the ability to get course credit for an unpaid internship, this can far exceed the income that your child could earn from a school job.
Still have questions about an unpaid internship? Don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help!
All the best,
Andrew Holmes, CCPS™
Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) is a Registered Investment Advisor. Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client. Information herein includes opinions and source information that is believed to be reliable. However, such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.