Interns need to look at the big picture2 min read

Carla Arango, Staff Writer

Students need to gain experience in order to secure a job upon graduation, especially with the increased competition for well paying jobs in today’s job market. Unpaid internships have long served as a tool to meet this need.

These internships are beneficial to both the intern and the employer.

According to policymic.com, a political website aimed at young adults, unpaid internships benefit students in many ways, adding value to resumes and letters of recommendation, as well as helping build connections with future employers.

“Internships open doors to future internships, jobs, fellowships, graduate school and networks,” PolicyMic’s Avantika Krishna wrote.

Employers also benefit from hiring interns.

“Sports marketing, media and management agencies and other corporate entities … depend on unpaid interns to help run projects within their company,” Jason Belzer wrote in Forbes magazine.

Despite the benefits, some critics condemn unpaid internships, arguing that students cannot afford to do free labor.

“Your time is money; you still need money to live,” said De Anza student Maria Dominguez, 18.

Others argue employers take advantage of and exploit their interns.

Several companies have been sued, including Madison Square Garden, whose interns claimed working conditions were unreasonable and time consuming, despite the lack of pay.

Students also accuse the company of failing to follow through on promises to provide full-time jobs after completion of the internships.

The purpose of an internship is to gain valuable experience in a field, not to make money.

If employers are required to pay their interns, there is little incentive in hiring them when a more experienced candidate can be hired instead.

Internships provide benefits beyond securing a job after graduation. Valuable insight is gained into whether the job is the kind they really want to do.

“Nothing actually prepares you to make [the right career choice] like seeing day-to-day life inside that field,” Genevieve Harclerode, assistant director of experiential learning at the Univerity of Michigan career center, wrote.

Unpaid internships offer valuable skills and life experiences, not just a reference on a resume.

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