You might be surprised to know how many students don’t actually know what an internship is and how many internships are paid opportunities! As a uni student, I know what it feels like to be desperate and willing to take any opportunity. Read this blog to find out more about opportunities that will build your CV and possibly get you paid.
Who Can Do An Internship?
Usually interns are students, grads or career changers who are looking to gain skills and experience in an industry. Interns often work for free to get noticed by employers that otherwise wouldn’t hire them without references.
However, there are some exceptions. In some European countries like Germany, interns generally receive a stipend or salary during their term at an internship. This is not always the case elsewhere around the globe. Depending on where you live (as well as the job you’re trying to land), you may find yourself working for no pay at all! Nearly everyone can do an internship but paid internships might be harder to find.
Internship Wages Vary
Internship wages vary depending on the company you work for. Some internship programs pay you and others are unpaid but it’s important to note that even if an internship doesn’t pay, many of them can still act as excellent CV and cover letter builders for a student or recent grad.
In general, the more specialized an internship program is (and thus less likely to be widely available), the more likely it is that you’ll find a paid version of it somewhere. For example: while most companies have some sort of customer service department that needs interns occasionally during busy periods (like Christmas), there aren’t very many companies that will offer paid customer service internships on their website. You’ll need to dig around if you want one!
There are plenty of other positions that don’t involve customer service (such as HR) which do advertise for paid interns. You may also find internships that cover things like lunch and travel costs. You don’t get paid for the work but you don’t lose money either.
There are also internship opportunities that pay but not always a lot. You can sometimes expect to receive your country’s minimal hourly wage. It’s not a lot but it can help pay for some essentials or allow you to treat yourself at uni!
Paid And Unpaid Internships Can Benefit You
Some companies don’t pay interns because the young person is learning and building their experience just by being there. If it’s important for you to earn money, make sure the company has a record of paid internships. Or make sure you get a written contract that details your pay agreements.
Unpaid internships can benefit you in other ways, if you’re financially able to take on these opportunities. Not only are internships a brilliant way to gain industry specific skills to add to your CV (and LinkedIn profile!) but you get a real feel for a workplace and the culture.
Ifyou can also use internships to network like crazy and create professional relationships that will benefit you in the future. One unpaid internship can lead to 5 future paid internships if you get to know people and leave a positive impression.
At the end of it all, the answer is up to the leader of the company and the company budget. Some for-profit companies do pay their interns and some non-profits and government agencies do not pay their interns. If you are lucky enough to get a paid internship, talk about salary expectations with your employer. Internships, paid or unpaid, are a great way to gain experience, new skills and build your network.