Strategies to Wipe Out Internship Exploitation

From interviews and personal experiences, we have analysed and provided you with the following strategies to avoid intern exploitation!

  1. Choose the right internship for you
    By having an idea of what your dream job, agency, or position is, this will help you narrow down what company you intern at. By doing so, you will prevent yourself from partaking in unnecessary or non-relevant intern experiences.
    Also determining what kinds of skills you hope to gain from which industry and which position will be necessary when choosing your internship. Doing so will result in a positive experience as you will be rewarded with the skills you develop and experience, even though the experience may be unpaid.
  1. Keep your goals in mind
    When you find an internship you think will be suitable, make sure you’re going to get what you need from the experience. Writing out a list of learning goals will keep you on-track and will ensure you get the most from the experience. Doing so will also mean that you will have more confidence in speaking with your intern manager or supervisor if you feel you have not achieved those goals, and this can lead to positive conversation with your employer, as it will showcase you as a motivated and eager intern.
  1. Maximum your internship and don’t waste your time
    Coffee runs are quite common as an intern, but make sure it isn’t your main job. Be proactive and ask around and see if anyone has more interesting work for you to complete. Try and learn by observation, and see what tips you can pick up.
  1. Develop an eagle eye for exploitation
    When looking for internship opportunities, make sure that the job application looks legitimate. Words such as ‘internship programme’ are a good indicator that the internship will be structured and therefore beneficial. If you are unsure if the internship will be a structured programme, make sure to ask these questions at your interview. Most agencies that run reputable intern programmes will be able to provide you with a detailed response as to your daily duties. The not-so-structured and often exploitative internships will usually have much more vague responses as to your daily duties – a key sign to BEWARE.


Written by Miao Wang


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