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Why Unpaid Internships Are Hard to Find

By Sarah Collins

Whether you're in college and looking for experience or just graduated without a job, we've always championed unpaid internships as a vehicle to get your foot in a door, build your network, and pick up some skills. But as those of you who've explored this option probably figured out, they're difficult to find...which makes zero sense. Why wouldn't a company want a smart college student or grad, who's willing to work for free, to help them out?

In a few words: it's illegal. As Mark Cuban points out in, Want an Unpaid Intership So You Can Get Valuable Experience? - Screw You!, the US Government prohibits employers from hiring unpaid interns to produce work for them, unless, of course, that work can't be used by the company (yes, you read that correctly). So in other words, an unpaid intern can't help out on a pitch that lands a company new business, but using an example from the article, an unpaid intern can drive trains back and forth across a track all day as long as it's not transporting anything.

That's not to say that you can't get an unpaid internship; you certainly can. Forget large corporations. Instead, focus on smaller ones, and startups even. Or find a family friend that might bend the rules for you. Some schools will even setup arrangements with organizations to incorporate the internship into a degree program (and thus it's no longer considered an unpaid internship but legal work experience). So just like everything else in today's job hunt, the more creative you are the better you'll be off.



I have openings for 8 unpaid interns in North San Diego county. I will provide detailed training in marketing, Internet sales, writing and finance in a small business. I will give the intern the HP Lap top they work on over the summer and will provide gas money.

The Tasks we will work on will include…
1. Direct mail advertising / ad copy / list selection / print bids / tracking response rates.
2. Keyword research for web sites in 250 niche markets
3. A limited amount of inbound and outbound telephone sales calls in following up our letters to professionals.
Video production for use in web site sales / script writing / posting to social network sites (we have a TV studio in the garage with a TriTek Broadcaster and use 3 digital cameras in our shoots.
4. Voice over slide shows using Camtasia to produce training materials – you will do entire clips yourself.
5. Creating help desk files and sample applications in our Paperless Overnight software
6. Building ‘how we do it here’ instructions and flow charts and video clips for our Delegation Magic service.
7. Hiring and managing ‘work at home’ staff and offshore staff to take over your projects as you complete the instructions.
8. Researching the internet for marketing examples in 250 Niche markets across the entire business spectrum
9. Developing the process and procedure for finding potential customers on the internet and then delegating that process to our offshore team and managing the offshore team for best results.
10. SEO (search engine optimization) task to direct and support our Philippians team
11. Using InfusionSoft to set up ‘nurture’ email campaigns to follow up on sales leads. This will include writing sales type emails and learning how to utilize the follow up email system.
12. Building ‘response rate’ tracking reports and watching the ‘numbers’ on our sites
13. Creating a process for finding prospective customers for our web based services, writing that process into flow charts and voice over video and then hiring and managing ‘work at home’ staff in the Philippians to complete the work. Managing those workers and reporting on successes or failures.
14. Creating and implementing a sales process for following up on the leads for the sale of distributorships in our new Top Of Google service.
15. Developing a process for researching articles and news releases in 250 individual niche markets. Then hiring US writers to take our research and put it into a series of 400 word articles to be used by our SEO team.
16. Key word research for 250 niche markets to move our web sites to the top of Google.
17. Writing the text and ad copy to go on the front page of our 250 landing pages in different niche markets.
18. Research for free reports and CD ROM audio premiums (free gifts) to encourage visitors to leave their email
19. Assist in the creation of 250 C corporations in Wyoming. – along with separate phone numbers and mailing addresses so that each company is operating as a separate entity by the end of summer.
20. Booking ½ day seminars at hotels and other venues across the US.
21. Design, printing and some basic ad copy for newspaper ads to sell seminars into 366 towns.
22. Managing the sales teams that will travel to the 366 towns over the next year to present our new products.
23. Writing 5 minute blogs that can be recorded in our TV studio for posting on our web sites. You may also be called upon to assist in the production of the video’s.
24. Working with our SEO team in the Philippians to post ‘back links’ to high ranking web sites.
25. Working with our IT team in India to create a series of 250 web sites for each of our vertical markets
26. Working with our US team of at home sales people who will close the deals you helped generate.
27. If you want you may even make outbound sales calls by phone to prospects if you’re looking for that type of experience. We can also take a limited number of interns with us on the road to assist in our seminars.

4 hours a day, 5 days a week for 65 days over the summer of 2010.
Interested in learning more, email me at kctruby@msn.com
KC Truby

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