Most people view an internship as a paid position that you have with a company for a short period of time, usually three to six months. The key word is “paid,” most people think internships are, and should, be paid. However, an internship can sometimes be unpaid. The main difference between a paid internship and an unpaid internship is that a paid internship pays you for your time, and an unpaid internship does not. Other than that, both types of internships can both provide you with excellent experience and great networking opportunities that can help you along your career path.
I have had both paid and unpaid internships and I gained a lot of great experience from both of them.
My paid internship was in the Quality Assurance department at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. I originally got this internship the summer of my freshman year, and I have been lucky enough to be asked to come back every summer since then. Working there was a great way to make money during the summer and to gain experience in the business field, more specifically the finance field. I was able to attend upper level management meetings which allowed me to network and gain useful knowledge that I can hopefully use in my future career. This internship was very beneficial for me and will hopefully help me land a job once I graduate.
My unpaid internship is in the Hospitality department at St. Luke’s Hospital. I got this internship at the beginning of the semester and I am currently still working there. I work at St. Luke’s about ten hours a week, in-between my classes. I am also able to attend management meetings and do other work that allows me to network and gain useful experience. Working here has allowed me to gain knowledge of the healthcare field of business and I will hopefully be able to transfer this knowledge into my career.
As you can see, I gained experience and knowledge from both internships, it didn’t matter if I was getting paid or not. So when looking for internships, don’t discount unpaid ones as not “real internships,” remember they still give you valuable experience that may someday help you land your dream job!