Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Share feedback related to your experience on College Confidential to help us shape future initiatives.

Taking an unpaid internship

13

Replies to: Taking an unpaid internship

  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 4,592 Senior Member
    If they don't already have someone doing social media that will provide training it doesn't sound like it's legal

    http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/employment-law-and-human-resources/unpaid-internship-rules.html
  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 2,408 Senior Member
    edited May 18
    My response is a bit different -- I would assume that this position (especially if it is part time and with flexible hours) would be highly desirable to some (beer-loving, communications internship-seeking) applicants. I don't think you would be competitive. They would want people to know about beer and beer culture. The OP is like an unfashionable person applying for an internship at a boutique.
  • blossomblossom Registered User Posts: 8,148 Senior Member
    Who says an unpaid internship is more impressive than folding sweaters at Old Navy?

    I hire for a living, and I think that holding down a job-- any job- and learning the ropes of an entry level position is extremely impressive. Some of these glamorous internships are nothing more than Daddy or Mommy calling a friend and getting the kid an empty swivel chair in a conference room for the summer. Sitting in on meetings where you have nothing to contribute and no meaningful work to do isn't impressive.

    OP- it could be a good experience, it could be a waste of time. I think you need to explore what they want you to do and see if you will have time for an actual paying job this summer as well.
  • shortnukeshortnuke Registered User Posts: 261 Junior Member
    The first thing that I would do is ask your professor about the legality of the position. Don't most colleges have placement centers that help vet these types of opportunities? I know many business schools that have their own separate center from the university's general placement center. If the internship doesn't sound legal, your school has an obligation to inform the business owner of such.

    If the internship appears to be legitimate, you may want to look into it a bit more. How well do you know the company? Who is responsible for the internship (i.e. what is their actual position in the company)? What are their plans over the summer that you'll be involved in supporting?

    We've had a large number of craft brewing companies open here over the last few years. Some are fairly large scale in their operation, with distribution to local bars and stores. Others are essentially brew pubs that don't sell any products outside of their premises. Many are involved in different events throughout the summer (BBQ contests, local fairs and festivals, etc.). Participating in these could be a lot of fun and give you some insight into how these types of events are run. It could also get you into some places for free. I'm making some REALLY BIG assumptions here though. Only the person planning for the internship can provide the details.

    Finally, since it's an unpaid internship from a company that doesn't sound like it has much experience with interns, you may want to see if you can modify the experience to match your major. Maybe you could shadow the person running their books to understand what GAAP apply to social media budgeting and expenditures.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,784 Senior Member
    "The first thing that I would do is ask your professor about the legality of the position"

    Personally, I would not do this. Either consider the position or don't. But I wouldn't start questioning the professor about it if he passed it along to you, whether that might be technically valid or not.
  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN Registered User Posts: 2,408 Senior Member
    Some of the responses seem to be written as if the OP had been offered the job rather than merely being sent a notice about a job opening. This notice might be in wide circulation.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,992 Senior Member
    Ask your professor why he sent this info your way...and why HE thinks it would be a good opportunity for you.
  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    The owner of the brewery sent an email about the internship to every marketing professor at my college. My professor mentioned the internship during class and asked if anyone was interested. I was the only person to raise my hand lol.....so she forwarded the owner's email to me.

    Honestly, I doubt my professor had many thoughts regarding the position, she was basically just passing along info to her students.
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 2,881 Senior Member
    Heck no. You need a job that pays you for your labor. Your work is worth something. Unless you can do paid work on the side, and this job as a hobby, say no.
  • ProudpatriotProudpatriot Registered User Posts: 1,480 Senior Member
    If you are interested in the position find out more about it. My son took an unpaid internship at a radio station. It turns out that of the six people who currently have the position he would be interested in five of them interned at the radio station. The internship is not full time so he still has time to work his paid jobs over the summer.

    BTW-in many states you do not have to be of legal drinking age to handle alcohol. My son is bartending in TN and he is not of age. In our home state (FL) you do not have to be 21 to tend bar, serve in a restaurant, or handle alcohol as an employee. State laws differ.
  • runswimyogarunswimyoga Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    edited May 19
    From what you have told us, Im in the camp that this company is not complying with federal labor laws here in offering this unpaid internship to you.

    From my understanding of the laws (understanding gained from listening to an NPR segment about gov cracking down on companies trying to use college students for free labor), unpaid internships have to be provable mentorships where they already have someone in the job and that person is teaching you the job- a kind of job shadowing if you will- but the paid employee does most of the work. The company cannot receive any kind of substantial or immediate benefit from your work. On NPR they also said they can't send you out to get coffee or run errands for the company bc that would be an immediate benefit from your work :)

    You wrote the position was "to help them out with social media marketing"- that sounds like they would benefit immediately from your work...

    and it kind of sounds like a scam to me... also its obvi going to involve you promoting alcohol, which, as an underage person, doesn't seem super ethical (esp in this age where your social media posts can come back to haunt you later in your career)... IMO, if you want to be an accountant, I wouldn't compromise your ethics for this.
  • nordicdadnordicdad Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    Here is an article related to a winery using volunteer labor. It did not turn out well for said winery. http://www.mercurynews.com/2014/09/15/castro-valley-winery-fined-115000-for-using-volunteers/
  • GreenTeaFanaticGreenTeaFanatic Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    @nordicdad Yikes, that sucks! I wouldn't want to get myself wrapped up with the brewery, if what they are doing is illegal.
    @runswimyoga Thanks for your advice and information.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 14,784 Senior Member
    I think mountains are being made out of molehills here. Bartering is as old as time, whether it is 100% legal or not. All kinds of people exchange their energy and time for skills and merchandiseIf the job fits for you, pursue it. They might not bring you on board anyway given your age and background. If it doesn't interest you, drop it.

    Regardless, find something to do this summer. It's getting to be late May and it sounds like you have no plans right now. Work on building your resume. That's just as important as a degree in landing a post graduate job these days.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,268 Senior Member
    edited May 19
    I'm less critical of unpaid internships. Years ago I did one, it turned into a permanent paid position which changed the course of my career. A non-profit I do freelance work for now had an unpaid intern last semester; today she's talking to them about a paid trip to South America to act as a translator.

    Some unpaid internships are worth the time investment: they can give you invaluable experience, contacts, portfolio items and may turn into a paid job.

    This is a controversial opinion on CC, and I've caught hell for it on this site (smile) but I had to share it.
Sign In or Register to comment.