Online Internships – Scam or Legit?

by Guest Blogger Mary

With the economy still on the rocky road to recovery, businesses all over the country are turning to internships as a way to maximize their productivity without having to pay salaries. Online internships are becoming increasingly popular.

While not suitable for all businesses – after all it’s hard to see how a Roseville chiropractor could benefit from an online intern – they do offer some advantages for both businesses and interns. However, before you commit to participating in an internship you want to make sure there is something in it for you.

What Does it Offer? 

Technically, federal law only allows companies to offer unpaid internships if a variety of conditions are met, including you are not replacing an employee and the internship is primarily for your benefit as an intern. As such, a good internship advertisement should focus on the benefits that it brings to you, the intern. If you discover you will primarily be producing work without much training or supervision, then the internship may be just a scam looking for free labor.

Ask about your interaction with other employees and what training you will receive. If the company does not have answers for you or has obviously not thought about training and supervision, then you can guess it will not be as useful as it could be.

What are your Alternatives?

Often students and the unemployed need work experience in order to progress in a career. While online internships can be a good vehicle for getting this experience, before you commit to one, consider the alternative options.

Is it possible you could replace or exceed the training that is offered with your own studies? If your primary motivation for taking on the internship is to gain clips for your portfolio or samples of work, then you have alternatives, such as setting up your own site, working on your own ideas or volunteering your services for a charity you empathize with.

These alternatives also have their own advantages. Working with a charity can also get you a handy reference, and setting up a website can show a good initiative. If you find what the internship offers can easily be accomplished through these other means, it is probably not going to be beneficial and may be a scam by a company looking for cheap labor.

With the job market still in a poor state, it can be tempting to grab hold of anything that seems like it could help you in the job-hunt. Indeed, some online internships can probably be very helpful in developing your skills.

However, taking the time to ensure the internship you are considering is legitimate and helpful will pay off in the long term.

This post was written by Guest Blogger Mary

Mary, a guest blogger, regularly writes about the online world, from internships to researching a Roseville chiropractor.

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