I am currently a student living in Canada. During my summers, I have the opportunity to apply for summer internships. In my home province, it is illegal to to offer unpaid internships, but after some research I found this is not the case everywhere. I want to get an internship so I get experience under my belt, but going a summer without paid work is nonnegotiable on my budget, unfortunately.

Now that I'm considering applying in other cities (particularly in the States), I want to be transparent with possible interviewers and let them know I'm not interested in unpaid work, but in the scenario where the internship IS paid and simply not stated in the job description I don't want to give the impression I'm "only in it for the money".

What is the standard way of asking about this during the application process?


2 Answers 2


Straight up just ask.

Usually the way in which the process unfolds is that you first apply online, and then if the company is interested in you they will setup time for a phone screen first. During that phone screen they will give you a chance to ask questions.

At this time you can state that You'd like to know if this internship will be paid or not:

  • If it is they'll simply tell you.
  • If it isn't and they don't want you because you asked then it won't matter, as you don't want that position anyway.

Don't worry about asking. Since many internships in the US are unpaid, it's not at all offensive to inquire, even up-front. If you were going for a career-extending position like "Senior VP of Sales" or "Research Lead II" position, you would want to exercise caution about who/when/what you ask about salary, but not for internships.

I've interviewed interns, paid and unpaid, and they always ask. I didn't remember that until you mentioned it, but they did. So it's not notable, like asking about weekend. Besides, we were more concerned with matching skills, personality was not a consideration. Lastly, even if my search committee members all thought it was rude to ask (we certainly didn't) a single slight of any sort is very unlikely to disqualify a candidate.

In short, don't worry about it, polish up your skill presentation to match keywords from the listing.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .