Not everyone agrees about working for free. But if you’re new to an industry, it might help get your foot in the door. Employers know this, so sometimes they’ll offer exposure in exchange for an unpaid job. If you go this route, at least ask them to quantify what that means.
Companies might try to spin this arrangement in a variety of ways. They might outrightly use the word “exposure,” or they might call it a “lucrative, non-paying” position. Refinery 29 explains that in these “work for exposure” arrangements, it’s important to be clear about what you can expect to get out of it. Exposure is, essentially, advertising, and advertising is quantifiable. Your exposure could be measured in clicks, page views, or retweets, for example.
Refinery gives an example of how you can address it:
Thanks for the offer. I might be interested in an in-kind trade of services for exposure. Here is one way that could work:
I see that you have about 6,500 Twitter followers. I estimate that a project like the one you’re proposing would take about four weeks. During that time, I’d like two tweets per week linking to @mybusiness and mybusiness.com to be tweeted during peak hours of 8-10 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. Done right, this would also help build excitement for the project from your followers.
If you don’t have a business, you might just ask to tweet your online portfolio. Or you might not ask for a tweet at all. You might ask for a link back to your website. Either way, the point remains: if you’re going to work for free for exposure, you should probably know exactly what that involves.
Refinery 29 has more tips on this topic, too. Be sure to check out their post at the link below.
Is It Ever a Good Idea To Work For Free? | Refinery 29
Photo by sean dreilinger.