3 Reasons Why an Unpaid Intern Wants to Work for You

With colleges letting out for summer in less than a month, now is the perfect time to start scouting for summer interns. As a small business owner, you may be short on funds, but that doesn't mean you can't bring an enthusiastic intern on board and offer them a great learning experience, without adding them to the payroll.

Here are the top three things small business owners can offer prospective interns in place of cash, according to Cari Sommer, co-founder of Urban Interns.

No. 1: A learning experience. As 'cliché' as it may sound, offering an intern the hands-on experience of working for your business can be a serious  boost for him or her when it comes time to send out their resumes, post-graduation.

"Experience is a critical part of an unpaid internship," Sommer said. "Getting real world experience, or shadowing you. That learning piece is the first reason people want to take an unpaid internship." And, small businesses often need all the help they can get from their staff, so include your intern when doling out responsibilities.

No. 2: The prospect of a job offer. If your intern is working hard and proving he or she would be a valuable asset to your business, you may consider making them a permanent part of your team.

"The prospect or even guarantee of a job offer is very motivating to people who are working unpaid for a period of time," Sommer said. "And, we always tell business owners if they can't offer that, they can be as helpful as possible to guide that intern into a paid position, or help them network."

No. 3: A “job” to be proud of. If you are excited about your business, interns will be too. Make your company as appealing and exciting as possible, and interns will flock to you.

"Conveying that excitement and providing context and industry relevant information, from the interns perspective, makes them want the opportunity to work with an exciting company," she said.