If you encounter a “free” opportunity, I suggest asking yourself a few questions before making a decision:
- Can you get paid to do the same type of work elsewhere? (have you really looked?)
- Would you gain skills you could not otherwise acquire? If so, how does the free work fit into your plan for how to get the paid job you ultimately want?
- Is looking for paid work a more cost-effective use of your time?
- Are the “exposure” and other touted benefits of the free job really worth it? (Can you talk/email with any predecessors to get their opinion?)
- Have you talked with people working in the field about where to focus your efforts? What do they think about the opportunity?