Paid Vs. Unpaid Internships

Unpaid internships must not displace the work of a paid employee. The employer who provides training does not receive immediate advantage from training the unpaid intern; the internship is for the benefit of the intern.

While paid internships have their benefits, including the fact that you are a paid employee and that you may learn more and gain more experience, unpaid internships can still give you some experience in the field, opportunities to network, and something good to write on your resume.


Qualities That Employers are Looking for in Their Interns

Employers usually look for certain qualities within a potential intern, and it’s not your GPA! Here are 10 qualities explained from the Recruiting Trends 2017-2018 report published by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI) at Michigan State University.

Most Important Qualities

  • Enthusiasm

“is enthusiastic about our organization and the potential assignment; open to accepting new responsibilities; will seek out new tasks”

Your interview will show how much you want to work for the company. You will be able to express your interest in the company and the project that you are applying to. Take some time before the interview to research the company: What do they do? What is their mission and vision? During your interview, bring up questions about the company and the products or services that they offer. By asking questions about the company, the interviewee will see that you were excited about this company and position so much that you went out of your way to research them. Not only should you be enthusiastic about the company, but also enthusiastic about starting and learning something new.

  • Fit

“ability to integrate into the social and organizational environment of our organization.”

Fit is mostly looked for within the interview. Each company has a different work culture and environment. Some companies are formal, while others are casual. The way you present yourself, including the way you dress and your personality, at the interview will demonstrate whether you are a fit for the company.

Medium Important Qualities

  • Hardworking

“demonstrates effort and persistence in tasks he or she undertakes.”

This quality can be found within your resume and your interview. Your resume should be packed with jobs, projects, and assignments to demonstrate how much you enjoy doing things and getting things done. During your interview, you will be asked about these jobs, projects, and assignments. You’ll be able to demonstrate the effort you put into your work. Make sure to highlight the challenges you faced and how you were able to overcome those challenges. Employers like to know the “how”.

  • High quality work

“able to set high standards for personal performance; strive for quality work; puts forth extra effort to ensure quality work.”

Employers want to know that you will go above and beyond for your work. Surely they can hire someone who gets the job done, but they’ll be more inclined to hire someone who gets the job done well. In your interview, highlight how you did more than what was asked for your projects and assignments. Including honors and awards in your resume will show that your work was noticed by others.

  • Professionalism

“appropriate manner in which student conducts his or herself in the work environment”