Feeling used and abused – and not in a good way?

Sniffing the unmistakable whiff of slave labour?

If you’re getting the sneaking suspicion that employers are taking advantage of jobless graduates and using them for free labour when they have no intention of offering a job, you’re not alone.

Heather Collier Director of the National Council of Work Experience – and a contributer to Dude – told the Guardian this weekend: “These are difficult to times for everyone but it’s not a green light for businesses to act unethically. If there is any doubt in an employer’s mind regarding potential exploitation, it’s simple — pay them.”

In an ideal world, Heather’s word would be law. But this isn’t an ideal world, folks.

So, if you’re considering working for free, I recommend you mirror the employers’ attitude and weigh up every work experience opportunity as a cold, hard business decision on YOUR part. Okay, you aren’t being paid, but will this placement bring real VALUE to your CV?

If yes, do it – and do it with a smile, knowing you’re doing it for your own (selfish!) reasons.

If no, don’t do it – and spend that time seeking alternative work experience that will be more valuable.

In other words, remember this little mantra… ‘If I work for free, I do it for me!

(For more advice on ensuring work experience placements work for YOU, track down a copy of Dude…)

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