How To Land A Creative Job Without Doing An Unpaid Internship, According To 3 Women Who Have

Photo: Isabella Mamas
Working in a creative industry is a pipe dream for many. According to my high school careers counsellor, it's a wild fantasy. But one way into this fantastical world is by slogging through unpaid internships. 

Having completed four myself, I’m well-accustomed to doing the hard yards in unpaid work, so it truly threw me to learn that some people managed to forge their own path in a creative field without going through this (often exploitative!) practice. 
In Australia, unpaid internships fall into murky legal territory. According to FairWork, they are legal if it involves a vocational placement, meaning that it’s part of an education or training course. Unpaid internships can also be legal if there’s “no employment relationship found to exist.” FairWork specifies that this means the person partaking in the internship must not be doing “productive” work; that they should be the ones benefiting from the placement (not the business); and that they should be receiving meaningful learning experience and skills. I don’t blame you if you’re struggling to wrap your head around how someone can gain meaningful experience without completing productive work. 

The good news is, career trajectories are changing at a rapid pace, and the internet is helping open up new possibilities that can replace traditional paths. If you want to skip the internship route altogether, these three women prove it’s possible.

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