Interning Or Freelancing: Which Is Right For Your Future?



If you’ve had a chance to catch up with friends who have graduated, you know the job market is brutal. Every applicant has a college degree, excellent grades and a killer resume. What tips the scales for employers? Experience.

Everyone knows you need to have relevant work experience to get started in your dream career. The question is, how do you get it? There are really two choices: You can freelance or you can intern. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both to help you decide what you want to do this spring or summer.


This means going into business for yourself. You can do it from your dorm room, work around your class schedule and make a little money. Employers may be impressed with your entrepreneurial spirit and you may even like it enough to keep it up after graduating.

You may, though, miss out on valuable networking opportunities. You won’t get the chance to meet other people in your industry. You also won’t get to see the inside of an already-successful business to get a feel for how things work.


In today’s market, these positions are usually competitive. You’ll have to ace an interview to get brought on. Once you do, you’ll get to see how a company works. You’ll meet all the movers and shakers and see the kind of work that goes into your dream job firsthand. Depending on your arrangement, you may also get course credit for this work. Many companies prefer to hire interns after graduation.

You will probably not be paid for the work you do, though. You’ll also have to work on a set schedule, which can be difficult to change if you need more time for classes. You’ll need to dress the part for your job, which will mean money spent on an appropriate wardrobe. You’ll also have a commute to consider.

The bottom line

Whether you want to intern or freelance probably depends on how clearly you know your future. If there’s a specific company or job you want, being an intern can help you achieve that. If not, you’ll have more luck (and more money!) striking out on your own. You’ll develop a broader array of skills and won’t need to distract yourself from your classes.