5 Tips to Surviving your Unpaid Internship

Posted by | June 26, 2013 | Tips for Interns

Unpaid Internships can give you invaluable experience to help jump start your future career. However it can be difficult to survive financially. Don’t worry, all is not lost, it is possible to get some great experience and still pay your bills.

Here are 5 tips that will help you survive your unpaid internship.

1. Choose your Internship Carefully.

Take into consideration the following;

  • Your location
  • Extra costs
  • Felixible hours

When choosing an internship make sure you always keep in mind the financial factors. For example how much is it going to cost you to travel to your internship?

You must also think about your location (which location is cheaper to get to?). Be realistic about this. You may find your dream internship in Galway but you live in Dublin. This will just not work financially.

It is also important to think about other costs, such as parking. These costs can be easily forgotten about but they add up!

When choosing your internship always keep in mind the hours you are expected to work. Try to apply for internships with flexible hours so it leaves time for other work.

2. Do not Intern Full Time.

Working full time might seem like a good idea, as you can gain more experience at a faster pace.You may feel this is the fastest way to get your career going but in reality it is not.

If a company expects you to work full time and they are not willing to cover any expenses, it is highly likely that they are trying to take advantage.

If you are not getting paid or your costs are not being covered then do not intern full time. You will need to keep yourself a float during your internship.If your internship is full time how will you provide for yourself?

3. Get a Part Time Job.

Getting a part time job is vital for your survival. As much as we would love to able to, we can’t live of buttons. So you will need a job that puts food on the table.

Do your best to find a part time job that is flexible, such as bar or restaurant work. Many times in these types of part time jobs it is easy to swap shifts with others if necessary. Not only that but you will also earn tips on top of your wages. You know what they say every little helps!

4. Make a Budget and Stick to it!

When you are busy with your internship and your part time job it can become very easy to lose track of your money. Especially if it is a tenner for petrol here and a fiver for phone credit there.

Make a budget and stick to it! Cut out any unnecessary expenses such as lunch.Why not bring your own lunch to work everyday. You may not be the coolest  kid in the canteen with your lunch box and your flask ,but you will be surprised about how much money you save. You never know you might even have enough money at the end of the week for a few pints!

5. Be clear about your schedule.

It is easy for an employer to forget that you have other responsibilities, such as your part time job.

Your boss might call you to come into work at inopportune times. Try and be flexible let your boss know what your schedule is like so you can work around it together and come up with comprises if a problem arises.


So now you know it is possible to survive your unpaid internship. So go ahead go out their and get some experience! Have these tips helped? Do you have any other tips to add, please comment below and let us know!

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