Why Unemployed Graduates May Want to Work for Free

Posted on 05/16/2012

For recent college graduates the thought of working for free after putting in four long years of term papers and Ramen noodles while racking up thousands in student debt may seem crazy. But finding a job even with a diploma is increasingly difficult. According to a 2011 report, the unemployment rate among college grads under the age of 26 is sitting at 8.9 percent. Here are five reasons why unemployed graduates may want to work for free.

Free Gets Attention In this cut throat world a competitive advantage is paramount. If your top notch resume isn’t enough to land you an interview, maybe an offer to work for free for a set period of time will be. Telling a potential employer that you believe in yourself enough to work for free will get their attention.

Connections are Key
College is great for learning, but developing a rolodex while on campus is sometimes a struggle. Getting out into the real world can help you develop the connections that are critical for finding a great job. Consider connections made while working for free an investment into your future.

Degrees Can’t Replace Experience
If your grade point average or part-time job at the Gap isn’t enough to wow a potential employer then it could mean your experience is lacking. By working for free you’ll be able to beef up your resume enough to stand out from the crowd of applicants.

Learn What You Want
Committing to a company can mean signing a binding contract. But for first-time job hunters it’s tough to know what you want or don’t want out of a job. Working for free can be a way of fine tuning your likes and dislikes which could prove to be incredibly valuable down the road when you’re asked to sign on the dotted line.

Eventually Money Will Come
Obviously working for free isn’t a long term strategy. But it can open doors and unlock opportunities that working your way up the corporate ladder might never do. And if your options are sitting at home catching up on soap operas or working for free, you probably know which one will prove to be more valuable in the long run.

By Alison Storm

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