Three Reasons to Take the Unpaid Internship

By: Michelle Furnari, GWWIB’s Executive Vice President


We all know the reason not to take one; it is unpaid, after all. But these internships, while missing the obvious incentive, do offer advantages that sometimes cannot be found in paid internships. Although working unpaid is not always a feasible option for every student, below are three ways your experience can be worth the lack of cash:


More Responsibilities

Smaller and non-profit companies often cannot afford to pay interns, but are incredibly reliant upon their productivity. For this reason, unpaid interns can take on larger different responsibilities, and interns can more easily make a lasting impact and see the results of their work.


More Learning Opportunities

Although unpaid interns are incredibly important to the success of smaller organizations, there is often a larger focus on learning than on producing results. Paid interns often have a set number of tasks that they are responsible for completing. These tasks can often take priority to the educational aspect of internships. As an unpaid intern, employers are required to maintain an educational component to the internship. This educational component is important for students because it allows interns to learn about business components outside of their assigned tasks.


More Flexibility & Variety

Along with the educational component of unpaid internships, there is commonly less structure in terms of responsibilities, and a less strict outline of what your experience will be like.  An unpaid internship is far more likely to offer a diverse overall experience, and the variability of what you may be asked to do will ensure you learn more about the organization and more about what you enjoy doing.


When you’re searching for an internship, be sure to not simply glance over those without pay. Unpaid internships offer a unique opportunity to gain relevant work experience, get your foot in the door, are guaranteed to surprise you, and usually worth the ride.