The Perks of an Unpaid Internship

Read about the importance of getting an internship, even if it is not paid, as told by the IC PRSSA Blog Team.

By: Amy Friedlander

As it is increasingly difficult to obtain a job following graduation, internships are becoming extremely competitive as well. However, one might question why internships are so sought after because of the lack of pay. Most millennials are getting buried alive by student debt, which is an extremely heavy burden that we carry; therefore, it’s difficult to justify an unpaid internship in place of a paid position in some other field. Internships, though, are a significant stepping-stone in obtaining a career in one’s desired field. The opportunities that can arise out of an internship are tremendously beneficial in the long run. Experiences from internships, such as hands on training, networking, and possibly narrowing down what kind of career you might like to pursue, are invaluable.


Outlined below are some quantitative examples that demonstrate the importance of internships even if they are unpaid:

  • On average, only 30% of graduating seniors have job offers before graduation; however, after completing an internship, that figure rises to 58%.
  • 97% of employers plan to hire interns and pay roughly 98% of them.
  • 68% of 25,000 interns surveyed who receive an average wage of $12.54 an hour would agree to intern for less money.
  • Out of the top 13 reasons given to intern, “to earn money” ranked 7th.

An internship experience helps college students differentiate themselves and stand out to potential employers. They strengthen and enhance resumes immensely. An internship can also help one to develop better work habits and provide a feel for what it would be like to actually have a career in that particular field. Also, having work experience will make you a prime candidate for any company, not just the one you interned for, and will prove your motivation and drive towards career development.


Statistically, it is proven that any internship can help you land a job, whether it’s at the same company that you interned for, or at an industry rival, or even a completely different business than you had originally intended to work for. An internship shows initiative and proves that you are capable of working alongside industry professionals. An internship, whether paid or unpaid, can very well lead to other job opportunities and can open many doors. And who knows, even if it’s unpaid, the internship can still include added perks such as covered transportation or meals, mentors, use of company facilities or equipment, and networking events. It is important to be open minded and accept an unpaid internship because it may very well be the first step to actually working in that company someday or even the key to meeting someone who can offer you a job in the future.



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