Amidst your heavy job hunting, meeting with local agencies and sending work out, you notice a fair amount of postings for internships in your field, both small & large. Many are unpaid and targeted for undergraduate students only, but some look like viable opportunities to work with your dream agency So here’s the question – is it prudent to apply for unpaid internships or should you focus on entry level positions?
Internships can be an invaluable opportunity for young students/designers to gain real-world knowledge and skills that a classroom can’t provide, and often lead to fantastic jobs.
However, they can also be traps for free/cheap labor from employers who aren’t really looking to browse upcoming talent and fill full-time jobs. Recent graduates, desperate for working opportunities in a skinny job market can sometimes fall into fruitless unpaid internships, many of which are illegal as seen here in an article by Steven Greenhouse of the NY Times.
What do you think?
Is it prudent for recent graduates to chase after unpaid internships or should they focus on entry level positions? What about seasoned designers with 5+ years working who have been laid off? Are unpaid design internships ever a positive alternative to paid positions? Share your thoughts and add to the discussion.