Many undergraduates and graduates look to paid and free internships for the work experience they need to thrive in the job market. However, this idea is being used by some companies to fulfil menial tasks for cheap or even for no cost at all. This means that undergraduates end up not getting the experience and skills they need in order to land awesome internships.
The idea of "working for free" is to apply your skills and passions to a business or project where the work you are doing is meaningful and matters to you.
How to Successfully Work for Free
1. You must let go of your ego. In a job market where many graduates are competing for one position, your 2:1 in Business Studies does not entitle you to a Â£30,000 a year position in the job of your dreams.
2. You must chose where you want to work. This involves finding out what you are passionate about and identifying business in that industry you would love to work in. Working somewhere you are passionate about is better for both you and the employer!
3. You must get some skills. This may seem hard as many people often rely on their internships and degree to give them relevant experience however here are some tips:
- Pursue your hobbies. Love football? Start helping to coach at a local club.
- If you love business or technology start your own business or start creating apps and programs.
- Take on a greater role in a club or society, positions such a treasure or sponsorship secretary are often looked over but they can give great experience and marketable skills.
- Action - The only way to do something is to DO IT. This final piece of advice applies to achieving anything. Look for things to start doing now that you are interested in to build your skillset.
4. You must reach out to the people you want to work with. It is very easy in the digital age to find relevant email addresses or Twitter pages.
- Begin by introducing yourself and comment on how great their company is and how much you admire the work they are doing etc.
- Give a few examples of an area in their business that you feel could be improved (tie this into your skillset) from here offer to do this work entirely for free. If they don't like your work they can simply not use it, they have nothing to lose.
- Suggest a coffee meet up to discuss this idea.
5. You can now convert the free work into a job offer. You have made awesome connections and been able to spend time doing things that you're passionate about. This will now put you in a really great position for getting a job offer doing what you love!
Having worked with a company they will have more to lose by letting you go after you have proved how you can be an asset to their company.
Working for free, doing something you love, will not only give you the perfect experience for getting your dream job but also be an incredible opportunity to work with people you admire and can learn a lot from.
We wish you the best of luck with your free work pursuits!