As unpaid internships seemingly go by the wayside, some argue that these positions provide marketable skills and training, which these young workers of America can't get elsewhere — but is that really true? Not really. Many unpaid internships, while valuable to a company, are pretty useless for someone trying to learn actual career building skills and thus pretty useless to future potential employers. One of the Black Swan unpaid interns, for example, told The Atlantic Wire he spent much of his time staring at the wall. The former intern suing Atlantic Records did "various office tasks, such as answering telephones, making photocopies, making deliveries, preparing coffee, getting lunch for paid employees, and other similar duties," per the court filing. Those may be tasks that a big production company or record label needs to get done. But, nobody would argue that experience provided industry specific expertise — those interns could have learned to do that for pay as an office manager at any company. And not too surprisingly future employers don't value that kind of work.
Often, the only thing these free laborers get is a company name on their resume — but, turns out, that doesn't even help much when looking for jobs. That is, most unpaid internships don't lead to jobs — at least not for college students. According to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers survey of 9,200 college seniors, those who had unpaid internships were about as likely to find a job as someone with no internship at all: