Let’s face it: in the communications field, paying internships can be few and far between. I have worked three internships during my time at OSU, and only one of those has been paying. Completely understandable if you literally cannot afford to be doing unpaid work, but if you have the means, I strongly encourage everyone reading this to not shy away from an unpaying internship because, a the end of the day, experience is experience. If you score an internship that is paying you with opportunity, here are my top tips to how to get your (hypothetical) bang for your buck.
Turn Your Internship Into A Job!
This one especially applies to people who are soon to graduate, but still relates to everyone! I’ve had many professionals tell me that they tend to hire individuals that have interned for them before because they already know how the company functions. You might have to wait a little bit longer for your money return if you aren’t graduating anytime soon, but I definitely think a salary is a great incentive to work for no pay at first.
Ask To Receive College Credit
This is probably the next best thing from getting paid at an internship in my opinion. Ohio State has a very easy process of receiving course credit for internships being that it counts as an elective. Being able to at least lessen your future coursework is a nice way of framing your internship experience.
Inquire About Company Perks
Especially in the PR field, many companies often have event/talks/workshops that they are working, hosting, or helping out with. That being said, do not be afraid to ask your boss if you can attend these events. You might just pick up a new skill, build your LinkedIn with more professional connections, or even mooch off of free food that might be there!
Get Your Commute Paid For
Even if you aren’t being paid for your work, many companies (and states for the matter) have policies about paying for employee’s travel time. This isn’t something out of the ordinary for workers to ask of, so don’t be shy about inquiring. I’ve heard some companies giving out at much as $.70 on every dollar for gas back, so it’s definitely worth looking into!
At the end of the day, internships help us to gain experience in fields we want to go into, helps us decide which jobs we are best suited for, and prepares us for post-graduation. I think experience as valuable as this is something every student should cash in on.
Libby Karman is a fourth year studying Strategic Communication with a minor in theatre. She enjoys traveling, fitness, and spending time with her friends and family. After graduation, she plans on moving to New York City to pursue social media management, event coordination, and growing her own business, Carol's Inspirations.