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3 Ways Unpaid Internships Pay

Greg Barrette |

March 23, 2010

Paycheck = Exposure to Acceptable Workplace Conduct

In a full-time job, you’re compensated for the work you do by virtue of money. In an unpaid internship, your compensation is witnessing the realities of the workplace environment first-hand. For many of us, proper etiquette in an office setting comes natural. For others, it doesn’t. By working in an office, you’ll be exposed to some or all of the following:

•Appropriate dress code
• Co-worker team work
•Acceptance of authority
•Humility or understanding your role
•Development of office-phone behavior

Benefit Packages = Permanent Branding Opportunities

Owning a good benefits package is extremely comforting for any employee. It’s something you know will remain static as long as you stay employed, and you can rely on it when necessary.

Obviously, no intern is going to be offered medical or life insurance. So, what sort of comparison can we make? Well, what about references? Any person you establish a positive relationship with during an internship, can be used as a reference for further employment opportunities. Having those connections is the same as owning professional benefits, they’ll always be there when you need them.

And, let’s not forget the benefit of having something to actually put on the resume. These internships showcased me as a young professional, not as a hourly part-timer. All three of them supported my efforts to properly brand myself. The benefit of looking good on paper (and on-line) made me more confident and secure in my abilities to succeed.

It must be nice to have a company car and parking space close to the building. Or, to be able to write off your car mileage. What about putting things on the company card? That’s probably cool too. I’ve never experienced such utilities but I bet it emits a feeling of ease. Well, the same can be said for an internship.

One profit of an internship is the fact there is no long-term commitment. Participating in an internship offers the convenience of tolerating a number of career industries before getting stuck in one. Wouldn’t you agree that supports a feeling of ease?

Actually, you know what would be best? If we engaged in internships prior to declaring a college major so we could pick a major affiliated with our industrial interests. Shucks, I wish someone told me that in high school.

Greg Barrette is the Brand Development Manager for CAREEREALISM. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn and/or Twitter.

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