How to find a job? Go unpaid!

This Forbes article on how to score an internship gives pretty standard advice on how to find a job, except for two pieces of advice that should ring a bell:

Don’t Be Afraid To Go Unpaid -Part-time internships and for-credit programs might burn holes in your pockets faster than smoking in bed, but unpaid positions will open up full-time opportunities after graduation

Target Places That Won’t Turn You Down – Show up at your local college or university campus and ask if there are openings for research assistants. Unpaid interns are usually welcome at law firms, government offices (like a state senator’s) and local chambers of commerce or think tanks. Just show up, résumé in hand, and be persistent until they tell you who can use you. Somebody’s bound to need free labor. And, with any luck, you can parlay the unpaid grunt work this summer into a compensated gig for summer 2009.

See, that’s great: if you go unpaid, you may get paid the next time. And if everybody has an internship experience, then go unpaid for your first two jobs and it’s very very likely that your third job will be paid! Now, that’s how you start a career!

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2 Responses to How to find a job? Go unpaid!

  1. Katrin says:

    It’s always the same advice, and we’re all going around in a circle:

    “http://careerplanning.about.com/od/internships/a/internship.htm

    Three Reasons to Do an Internship

    * With more and more people doing internships, employers are coming to expect to see them listed on the resumes of potential employees. ”

    I sometimes feel like in a contest, “Who can do more internships?”

    I’ve been noticing that employees at internship places are surprised when they learn that you’re not paid for the internship. They often don’t think this is possible, It so is.

  2. exintern says:

    This is very true, Katrin. People who promote internships because they are popular don’t seem to realize that they create a vicious circle. That’s how internship become a probably: because they are inescapable. Then how can you say that people enter freely into an unfair internship?

    People who don’t think it’s possible that an internship (and not an apprenticeship) can be unpaid are right: it’s the practice that’s wrong. But it’s seen as so normal that nobody’s acting on it, even if they have the law on their side. The anecdotal evidence gathered here from those who confronted the situation shows that the exploited intern can win.

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