11 Smart Ways To Make Your Unpaid Summer Internship Worth It

11 Smart Ways To Make Your Unpaid Summer Internship Worth It

Don't turn down amazing opportunities just because they're unpaid.


Unpaid internships are often frowned upon because you lose the opportunity to maximize your summer income. However, this often leads to students giving up extraordinary opportunities and resume builders to wait tables or do something else unrelated to their studies.

Here are 11 ways to accept that fantastic internship while still making money and being productive this summer:

1. Get a part-time job.

If your internship is flexible enough, you can have a part-time job on top of your internship for extra cash. If you intern in the morning, wait tables in the evening. If you intern at night, nanny or work at a cafe during the day. Use the extra time in your day to your advantage.

2. Limit unnecessary purchases. 

Do you really need that Venti Starbucks iced latte? Save money when you can because those seemingly small purchases definitely add up and avoiding them will help your bank account and your stress levels.

3. Manage your time wisely. 

Use the time that you're not interning to research ways you can make some extra money or ask around for additional opportunities. On top of this, use free time to be productive about your responsibilities (school, finances, socially, etc).

4. Drive around town...

Ever thought about signing up to be an Uber or Lyft driver? It might seem weird at first, but after you're done working for the day or on Friday and Saturday nights, drive people around and get paid for it! This could definitely be a good use of your time instead of sitting on your phone or watching Netflix.

5. Sell things that you don't need anymore! 

Use sites and apps like Poshmark, eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and more to sell things you no longer use or need!

6. Use the unpaid internship to your future advantage.

Network and make those connections last! You never know when you might need a reference or boost in the future. Relationships made during unpaid internships can pay off in the future and make it all worth it. Remember that!

7. Sell your skills!

Are you good at something online, like website building or blogging? Are you educated in fitness? Look for an individual or company that can use your skills and offer to help them out for compensation.

8. Research scholarships, grants, and aid. 

If you have trouble finding time to make money during an unpaid internship, or if it's full time, research ways you can save money down the road. For example, research and apply for academic scholarships from your school or from a third party. Although it won't feel like making money or immediate savings, you'll thank yourself later on.

9. Take in as much as you can and apply it to your life.

Even though you aren't getting paid for your work, you'll still be learning so much from experts, and it's important that you pay attention and absorb all that you're learning. You'll find that your new sense of the field will help you get even better internships and jobs down the line.

10. Set goals!

Set realistic goals throughout your time interning-- both financial and internship specific goals. This will help you work towards something instead of thinking about how your work is unpaid.

11. Don't slack.

Make the most of the time you spend interning and make extra cash when you're able to. Don't spend your time stressing about money when you're supposed to be giving your all to your internship. Instead, try your best while you're there and learn from those around you. Look at it as a rewarding experience and not a waste of time.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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