4 Reasons To Consider Taking An Unpaid Internship

On November 4, Governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz gave an interview to Bloomberg, where he made comments regarding unemployment of young people in Canada. Mr. Poloz assertively implies that unemployed young people should really go for unpaid internships.

This is quite an odd statement in a country like Canada where unpaid internships are illegal. Yes, you read it right; unpaid internships in Canada are illegal except in some specific cases.

When internships are a part of an academic program, or when they act as a certification program or traineeship for a specific field, unpaid internships are allowed.

Although Canada showed the lowest unemployment rate for the past year, young people are still discouraged from throwing themselves into the job market.

Mr. Poloz lists the possible reasons for such a situation as lack of skills needed for young people to survive in a work atmosphere and lack of enthusiasm to work, which might be caused by many social and psychological reasons.

Supporting his previous statement about unpaid internships, Mr. Poloz says that being involved in such a practice may be a good tool for encouragement of young people. This advice should be taken seriously and elaborated on.

This is a challenge I accepted with a great pleasure, not only because this is a matter in which I’m interested, but also because I was involved in series of unpaid internships before.

The job market is expanding with the increase in population. It does not matter if employment rates are increasing or decreasing, but numbers of new positions are certainly being added to the market every year, since new businesses start and the old ones grow or are substituted by others.

These changes in the job market affect internships, too, since many companies use internships as a technique to involve more people within the company.

This desire may be because of many reasons: cheaper labor, working with interns to certify them for further employment, training as a part of social responsibility program or marketing the company through the internship program. Announcing an internship program will resound the name of company in either way.

Internships are not fixed; they vary from being part-time or full-time, to being paid or unpaid. Although being involved in an internship is required as part of a program offered by a university or vocational school, nowadays, many young individuals are throwing themselves into any internship opportunity they can get their hands on.

Here are four reasons why young people in Canada are going after internships:

Organizing CV.

The more you can talk about your previous experience on paper, the more seriously employers will take you. By serious stuff I do not mean the information that is written in a serious tone or with exclamation marks (taken from a real source).

The most important aspects of your résumé are experiences and skills gained through institutions, organizations or companies. Whether your experience is paid or unpaid does not matter for the employer since it is more interested in the qualifications you got through that experience.

You may have a good degree, academic honor degrees and a great cover letter, but if you do not have an internship mentioned in your CV, you may end up eliminated from the competition, says author Beth Braccio Hering.

Technical Skills.

While having an internship in a certain field, young people can gain hands-on skills, as well as learn how to apply them to the job force.

This is very important in the sense that if the same intern seeks career opportunities in the field later, those skills acquired through previous internships will make a great help by showing candidate as a qualified professional.

Soft Skills.

Not only technical, but also personal skills are important for a good employer. Even if you are not working in a team, you need to have certain social graces and be able to use them. Those can be communication, optimism, friendliness and patience.

Think of anything that is needed in order to establish great relations with everyone around you in daily life. All of them are involved in work atmosphere, too, and are required to adjust relations with colleagues.

While involved in an internship, you may witness how people get along with each other and how they manage not to fight each other even in the most stressful situations. Moreover, you may also be witness to hierarchical relations and how to behave accordingly.

Answers to Questions.

Internships are simulations of a real work atmosphere. Therefore, interns are able to experience a certain field before committing to it.

Most importantly, internships will gain motivation to tackle the job market once they get a taste of it. They can be motivated by certain people they work with or they can be motivated with the idea of the internship itself or what they achieved during the internship period.

These are all things I have personally gained during my unpaid internships. The content of an internship does not change regarding if it is paid or unpaid. Mr. Poloz was quite right while saying, “If you do not have paid one, pursue an unpaid internship.”

Internships expert Penny Loretto states the same thing by emphasizing the fact that finding an unpaid internship is easier than a paid one. Of course, paid internships are great in the sense that they are paying for your daily expenses, but if you cannot land one, it is better to go for something rather than nothing.