Summer Internships - Money vs. Experience
Think of the summer first as an invaluable opportunity to further your job prospects and knowledge. The few extra thousand dollars you may make by taking a better-paying internship is not worth passing up the opportunity to further your career in a field you enjoy. In certain hermetic industries, such as media and journalism for example, it is very difficult to find a job without knowing people inside the industry and having some industry experience. An internship is the best avenue to breaking into these industries. One newspaper reporter and recent college grad remembers taking an unpaid internship at the smaller of two newspapers in a resort town despite pressure from his friends to stay in his college town to save money. "Rent was super-high - I ended up living with three other people in my room. I chopped a lot of mushrooms and pitted a lot of olives at this Italian restaurant I worked at on weekends to support myself, but I also collected a few clips and I got a reporting job right after graduating," he says. If money is a major issue and you are unable to support yourself with a second job, we suggest you investigate grants and loans from your university (or family).
Moreover, companies are increasingly drawing from intern pools for permanent employees. Your internship with a company will likely not just help you land a job in that field, but it will also provide you with a foot-in-the-door and contacts at that company. Increasingly, companies are extending full-time job offers to their interns.
Also, don't underestimate the value of quirky internships. A particularly intriguing internship can make your resume stand out from the crowd. One New York grad who interned at Zagat's, the popular restaurant guide, says: "Many of my interviews centered around the guide, and what I did there, not anything else on my resume."