The freelance internship myth

By Katharine Swan On Monday, August 17, 2009 At 10:49 AM

I often see ads on job boards (particularly Craigslist) seeking writers for "internship" positions. Don't be fooled — these "employers" are deliberately and despicably attempting to take advantage of unsuspecting newbie writers.

On Wednesday Angela Hoy of addressed this issue in her "Ask the Expert" column. She researched the actual U.S. law governing internships and provided several links. To sum up, in order to be considered an internship, the goal of the position has to be to train the intern. The company also can't benefit financially from the intern's work. And finally, the training has to be done on the company's equipment.

Particularly that last requirement eliminates every ad I've ever seen claiming to be hiring freelance "interns." So does the requirement that the company can't benefit from the intern's work.

So if you are browsing the job boards for writing work, beware of any ad that claims to be looking for "freelance writing interns" — or you could do what Angela has been doing, and inform them that their "internship" is in violation of the law!


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Anonymous Nacie Carson Says:  

This post really made me stop and think. Awesome job, thanks so much for putting it out there!


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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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