Three questions to ask yourself if you are looking for an internship

Now that summer is coming, a lot of companies are arranging interviews to undergrads to spend two or three months doing some work as an intern. And it’s the same story over and over again.
Last week, a couple of undergrads asked me for advice about their internships. They did a couple of interviews and both of them said me that they were considering a specific company because they’ve been told that they would get a paying job after the summer. And here’s the thing everybody looking for an internship should know.
Do not work for free just because they promised you a paying job.
Most companies want you to work for free and discard you afterwards. Does this mean that working for free is always bad? I’m strongly against working for free, but as everything in life, there are some exceptions to consider whether to get a non-paid gig:
1. Is the promise true?¬†First things first. You need to know who you’re dealing with. You need proof, so find a history of people within the company, who started out with an unpaid job that landed them into a paid one. A few companies really mean what they’re promising to you. Thereby, you’ve got to make¬†sure that they would really hire you.
2. Are you learning enough? Getting the right company and the right supervisor can be your best education. You evolve. You get to know people within your industry. In other words, it’s like doing a master with top class experience. Are you getting this?
3. Are you getting enough exposure? This is important for people with no experience. Sometimes is okay if you don’t get paid if, and only if, you’re getting enough exposure for your work and you can build your portfolio from there. (This situation is perfect for designers without a portfolio.)
If you find yourself with negative answers for these questions, don’t buy it and reject the offer. Because there you have a company that just wants you to a little work for free at the beginning with no intentions of hiring you. Run away. In most of the times they don’t deserve you and the experience you’ll get won’t be that much.
Far too often companies ask you to work for free as an intern first, promising you a paying gig after that. Almost always it’s not true. And because you work for free, these companies will never treat you as a professional.