We at the Career Center are always telling students how imporant
internships are, whether they are paid or unpaid. Below is a letter to
the editor in response to a New York Times article called "Jobs Few,
Grads Flock to Unpaid Internships". We couldn't have said it better
Sunday Dialogue: The Value of Internships by Bendik Kaltenborn
Published: May 19, 2012
To the Editor:
Re “Jobs Few, Grads Flock to Unpaid Internships” (front page, May 6):
As a casting director and business owner, I have been privileged to know
and work with several smart and talented interns, both unpaid and paid.
Some of these colleagues have, deservedly, gone on to wonderful success.
As your article points out, economic conditions have been challenging,
and jobs for new graduates are scarce. One can only empathize as they
enter the job market.
Yet one undertakes an unpaid internship with the understanding that it
is, in fact, unpaid; the myriad benefits of such an internship can be
invaluable to one’s career. However enriching one’s college education
has been, there is no substitute for witnessing, firsthand, how a
Employers seek interns (and staff) who are bright, personable, motivated
and curious and possess a strong work ethic. Unpaid interns, who often
work only part time, agree to a trade-off: volunteering their time to
learn and gain hands-on experience, and perhaps a future paid staff
position, at a company in the field of their choice.
No task required to keep a business running — opening and sorting mail,
filing, emptying out closets and so on — should be considered menial. I
have often hauled trash bags into the hallway for collection, all the
while joking about “the glamour of show business.” Any size company, be
it in fashion, media or another arena, depends on elbow grease, small
details and often “boring” tasks to keep it functional and thriving.
An unpaid internship in any field can greatly expand one’s knowledge,
experience, contact base and chances of future career success.
Brooklyn, May 14, 2012
The writer, a casting director for film, theater and television, has her
own company, Ilene Starger Casting.
Senior Associate Director