Explaining the unpaid internship to your parents

Posted March 23, 2008 by

“Mom, Dad, I decided to be an intern this summer. I won’t be getting paid but…”
This comment seems to be the nightmare of many parents who have worked hard to see their son or daughter go through college. They hear the internship part and think “Hooray, this kid finally found a job,” and then, moments later, the hope is dashed by the unpaid part. If you are considering an unpaid internship, explaining it to your folks can be a tough part of the decision but it really doesn’t have to be.
When you have made your decision and the moment for the conversation has arrived, be prepared and you can win over almost any parent. Take the time to learn about the internship position you will be signing on to and be prepared to answer any questions they might have.
Demonstrate to your parents that you are using sound judgement by pointing out the benefits of an unpaid internship, such as the extra training and work experience that would be difficult or expensive to obtain through other means. Point out that it adds another dimension to your resume, giving you an edge as a person who cares about their causes and does more than just talks about them. Illustrate to them that the experience you gain during the time of your internship makes you a more valuable asset to prospective employers in the future, thus mitigating any present financial losses.
Lastly, be firm and respectful. If you can fully explain the reasons why you have chosen a particular internship opportunity, then you know why you want to take advantage of it. Be firm in explaining that it is your choice and while you respect their concerns, it is a choice you have made. By doing so, you can hopefully win over your parents support for your decision to become an unpaid intern.

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