For an internship, I spent 20,000 to get an “inside job”

Nowadays, graduates not only have to spend money to find internships, but also have collectively “rolled up” a brightly priced The “gray industry chain”.

In recent years, the number of college graduates has reached a record high, according to data released by the Ministry of Education, the total number of college graduates in 2021 is expected to reach 9.09 million people, an increase of 350,000 people. For many fresh graduates, a good internship experience on the resume may be the door knocker to enter a big and famous company.

According to the “2021 College Graduate Employment Report” recently released by 58 City, 34% of graduates have already found jobs, and basically all graduates seeking jobs have had at least one internship experience. Among them, the internship of famous enterprises, which has the highest “gold content”, is the “meat and potatoes” that college students are competing for. The “meat and potatoes”, some of the popular positions even reached the “one in a thousand The degree of “one in a thousand”.

For some non-first-tier cities, non-key university students, academic background is not outstanding, no advantage of geographic location, access to information asymmetry, etc., directly become a “stumbling block” for them to get the internship offer of large and famous enterprises The “stumbling block”. It is aimed at this phenomenon, some intermediaries began to provide internship opportunities as a service, and charge a certain fee to college students in need.

It is understood that “paid internship” is divided into “paid internal Paid internship” is divided into “paid internal promotion”, “paid course + employment recommendation” The company’s business is a variety of business types, such as “paid remote project”, some of them are famous enterprises practitioners while through the There are also intermediaries who charge high prices for “insider” fees and sell places while making money. The “insider” fee is charged while looking for a “tutor” on the workplace platform. There are also study abroad agencies that work part-time as intermediaries, and those who “brush up their resumes” for study abroad. Some of them are also part-time intermediaries for study abroad institutions, providing internships for people who “brush up their resumes”.

At the same time, Tencent, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, CITIC Securities and many other famous companies have issued statements saying that they have never cooperated with any third-party agencies, and that they will not charge any fees for the entire recruitment and job search process. However, there are still a large number of college students are spending money to “buy” internship opportunities, depending on the internship unit, school professional background, personal needs, etc., the charges are different, the price The price ranges from a few hundred dollars to several tens of thousands of dollars. What sounded unbelievable in the past is now “intensified” has developed into a “gray industry chain” with a clear price tag “, “inside push” has also become the wealth code of some large factory employees.

The reporter talked with four friends who had “paid internship” experience and found that they chose The “paid internship”, either to study abroad, or to escape from a small town, or to enter a large factory, some of the money spent on “water “bought a lesson, some get the internship but found themselves “white whoring “Some are about to pay a deposit when they learn that their classmates have been cheated and “hang on to the horse”.

From their experience, “paid internship” is a choice of desperation, and most of them get internships that are far from their expectations, and the students who have been duped are There are not a few students who have been cheated.


Your classmates are paying for internships.

You can’t even get past the resume screen without paying

Bruce|25 years old

Domestic “985” bachelor’s degree, a British university master’s degree

The first time I heard about paid internships was in the fall recruitment a year before I graduated, when I searched online for various job hunting tips and inadvertently found articles about paying for internships. At that time, some of the “gods” around me had already gotten the qualification to stay in famous enterprises, or my family had arranged a job for me, which made me very anxious and gave birth to the idea of paying for an internship. The idea of paying for an internship came to me.

In fact, I did not trust this kind of agency that pays to recommend internships at first, after all, online information is mixed, and the price they offer is not cheap, and it is difficult to distinguish the real from the bad, but in order to add color to my resume, I still added the contact information of an agency.

They are very enthusiastic, came up and asked me which school which major, which area of internship, and then very skillfully listed a few famous enterprises in the industry, to provide me with a full set of job search training services, including a paid internship and some courses, a total of more than 30,000 yuan, but also to ensure that this internship “package, but refund”, and said I “caught a good time The project team is very short of people, can accept remote internship, after completing the internship can provide background check support.

Say not moved is false, at that time I checked a lot of information and cases, found that in the field of finance, investment banking there are many people who have difficulty entering the industry, need such background support. For a week after that, I received messages from the agency’s teachers every day, sharing the case of so-and-so student who successfully entered a famous company for internship and found the job of his choice.

However, just when I was about to pay the deposit, I learned that my classmates had been scammed and that an inbound agency had taken a 30% deposit and then “ran away”. My first reaction was shock, and my second reaction was happiness. I’ve never been so happy with my good planning, which is a warning from God.

After that, I searched the internet and found many similar experiences of being scammed, with all kinds of “foul play”, and even one organization was exposed to rent an office and find actors to act and sell fake internships. I was so surprised to find out that I had been scammed. So, I registered an account at Zhihu and wanted to share the stories of students who had been scammed, so that more people could be warned.

Many students came to me for advice on matters related to paid internships, and I could only teach them some ways to identify them or help them correct the false claims of insider agencies. I personally don’t approve of this industry, because job hunting should be fair and just, and paid internship is to aggravate the unfairness of job hunting. If the criteria for finding an internship changes from “ability” to If the criterion for finding an internship changes from “ability” to “money”, that is really a perversion.

But when you think about it, this is also a reflection of the “inside volume”. Everyone is paying internship “brush resume” rich background, you do not do, even resume screening can not pass, where there will be a written test, interview opportunities? In this case, many job-seeking organizations seize the pain point of selling anxiety, resulting in college students more confident about their own experience, paid internships as a life-saving straw to find a job.

However, from the people I have contacted, many paid internships are too different from what is expected, and the agencies deliberately avoid the disadvantages of paid internships in order to make money, so college students end up having to “pay for a black job In the end, college students have to “pay to work in the dark”, which is not recognized by the hiring company at all. Moreover, it is difficult to defend your rights after being cheated, and some agencies will not refund money even if you are taken to court, and litigation is useless.


The agency took the deposit and did not recommend the opportunity.

Refund condition is to let me “shut up”

Duan Zhiang|28 years old

I came from a small city, did not go to a good university, and after graduation, I worked as a computer salesman, earning 6,000 to 7,000 per month. After my girlfriend succeeded in her college education, she planned to go on to graduate school in Beijing, so I thought, “No, I have to follow her footsteps. She also persuaded me to go to Beijing to make a breakthrough, and our idea at that time was very simple: if you are willing to work, you will not starve to death.

I posted a question on a forum I often visit: “What jobs in Beijing don’t depend on education”, and soon a person named I soon got a private message from a person named “Topo”. He claimed to be an employee of a large factory and said he was a specialist like me, but through the recommendation of an agency, he had joined an internet company in Beijing to do research and development, and his income and quality of life had improved a lot.

At first I was very wary, but Topo not only took pictures of his work card and salary slip for me to see, but also often shared his work routine with me and urged me to see the big city. Slowly, I don’t know if it was out of empathy or something else, I began to sway.

In the “get to know” mentality, I added the teacher Xiaoran of the agency recommended by Topo. Xiaoran told me that many employees of big Internet companies are not from famous schools, so personal level and internal promotion are especially important. She suggested me to try “R&D” in this case, saying “You have the foundation, now the R & D position recruiting more people, the opportunity is still very big”.

I listened to the “job market trial class” she sent me, and checked the average salary of R&D in Beijing, I was moved and immediately paid the programming language course and the referral deposit, a total of 3980 RMB. It was 3980 RMB. The remaining 6,000 yuan, Xiaoran said, could be paid after a successful recommendation. At that time, what she told me was “help me get in”. They are not responsible for “whether I can stay or not”. I think that although it is a job recommendation, it is only a kind of disguised internship.

The moment I finished entering my payment code, I regretted it, but Ran’s enthusiasm encouraged me. Since then, I used my off time to study while watching the recruitment of all kinds of companies, from Tencent, Byte Jump to obscure small companies all brush.

Three months later, I felt that I had learned almost enough, so I asked Xiaoran to recommend companies to me. At the beginning, Ran was very enthusiastic, but slowly she told me that it was very troublesome to push inside now, and many people were paying full price to get recommendations. I felt that something was wrong, and I had a problem with my job at that time, so I quit my job and prepared to go to Beijing. When I went to see Ran again, she said that because of my hesitation, the quota was taken away by others, and now I could only enter a small company, but I also had to pay a referral fee.

I began to doubt the authenticity of this company, so I consulted a friend who is a lawyer, and he said that nine times out of ten this kind of agency is a scam. I checked out Ran’s information as well and got a lawyer’s letter according to the method my friend taught me. The person in charge of her agency may not have experience in dealing with rights, and gave me an 80% refund on the condition that the matter must be erased and not mentioned again.

The experience was so bad and so humiliating that I didn’t want to mention it to anyone. Perhaps the only good fortune is that after this thing, I found the former ambition, but also a new job in a second-tier city, an Internet company to do the back end, as a lesson learned at a cost.


I paid nearly 20,000 to the agent.

Still couldn’t get into a big factory

Fang Ruohua|25 years old, “double non-” a college

In 2015, I could have gone to a “985” university, but because of my poor performance in the college entrance exam, I ended up in a “double non-” college. In 2015, I could have gone to a “985” university, but because of my poor performance on the college entrance exam, I ended up going to a “double non-funded” college. When I chose my major, I thought simply, which major would be the most likely to work in a big city in the future, so I chose which one. With all these factors and being transferred, I ended up studying advertising.

Once I saw a recommendation for “product manager” course when I was taking a paid online course, so I submitted a trial. I was contacted by a “class teacher” named Korea, who was similar to an agency’s customer service, and told me what I needed to learn and the prospects for product managers. I was a little tempted, thinking that this kind of career has a lot of potential and is suitable for a person like me who is inclined to be a complex person.

But the price of the course was too high, $16,800, plus subsequent job and internship recommendations, for a total of $19,800.

However, I was impressed by the inspirational quotes and cases of successful internships in famous companies that were posted by Korea in my circle of friends every day. The deeper reason was that I was in a second-tier city, and I was majoring in advertising at a “double non-local” college, which was very stressful to get a job. I was very upset to see those who were not as good as me get into a better school and get the internship I had been hoping for.

What prompted me to make up my mind was a job fair in my junior year, where I found out that most of the companies were from the real estate industry in the city where my school was located, and the internship jobs offered were relatively low-tech, and I felt I deserved better. That night, I paid a deposit to Korea and made the other party promise to help me get a successful internship referral or my money back.

In the next two months, I finished the online “live+recorded” class, and also applied for many internships through Korea’s recommendation, and finally got a job as a product intern in a medium-sized company in Beijing. I ended up in a medium-sized company in Beijing as a product intern. However, many of my contemporaries did not succeed in getting an internship at all, so I had to bite down on the premise of “I must be recommended for an internship” and pressed Korea every day to help me. I was able to get the internship only after I kept pressing Korea to help me.

I was not satisfied with this job. I spent nearly $20,000, but I didn’t get into the company I wanted, and I was even further away from the big companies, and the internship recommended by the agency was not an irreplaceable resource. However, I also know that I can’t get into a big factory with my school and resume, and there are so many “985” and “211” universities in Beijing. With so many “985” and “211” universities in Beijing, my resume couldn’t even pass the first hurdle. I had to reluctantly convince myself to take this paid internship as a springboard to enter a first-tier city.

There are many people around me with similar school backgrounds, but I wouldn’t recommend such an agency to them. After I “landed”, the agency even contacted me and asked if I could do a case study for them, but I refused. Because I am a very hardworking person in the eyes of my students, I have won the first scholarship every year since my freshman year, and I have performed very well in both school exams and off-campus practice, and I hope to keep this impression forever. Moreover, this internship was earned by my own efforts, and the role played by the institution was too small to be my “black history”.


Apply to study abroad to make your resume look good.

Paying for a “black job”

Bryan|24 years old

Bachelor’s degree from a domestic “211” university, Master’s degree from a UK university

For medical reasons, I didn’t look for a job immediately after I graduated from my undergraduate program and spent almost a year at home recuperating. During that year, I only went to the hospital or lay down, gained 20 pounds, had little motivation, and didn’t know what kind of job I should look for. At that time, I really needed a new environment to stimulate a little, to find a new expectation of life.

It so happened that a senior who was very close to me posted his graduation photo of studying abroad in his circle of friends, which made me think of studying abroad.

I started to frantically look up information about applying to study abroad and finally settled on the same college and major as my senior. I asked him for advice, and he told me that it was important to have a good internship, and then pushed me to an internship promotion agency, which was the first time I heard about paid internships.

This agency specializes in inbound internships, claiming to be able to handle many of the distance programs and field internships needed for study abroad. The agency first evaluated my resume and then gave me a shortlist of relevant companies, mainly some financial institutions and accounting firms, but also the “Big Four (accounting firms) “. The agent said that I would have to pay about 8,000 RMB for the remote program and 20,000 RMB for the field placement, but I could sign an agreement for a “full refund if I was not successful”.

At that time, I was preparing for the IELTS exam at the same time, so I chose to do the internship remotely. The remote internship before studying abroad is, to put it bluntly, a “resume brush”, which is known in the industry, and cannot be used for personnel, but supports backing transfers.

I chose an online internship with one of the top 10 firms in China. During the internship, I had a one-on-one mentor to guide me, assigning me work content and communicating online at all times. Sometimes I had to get up in the middle of the night to do the work he assigned to analyze the data. I felt like I was just an assistant to him, a “freeloader”.

However, the remote program was not as helpful as I thought it would be for study abroad. Because I later found that the resume needs to be packaged, a lot of small projects that I did not see before, but also can be packaged beautifully. In fact, domestic job search is also like this, internships can be packaged, so the “resume refinisher” profession is popular.

Later, I applied to the school of my choice, and the $8,000 was not that important to me, but it was important to be able to go out to study abroad and take that step, so it was a fresh start. Of course, if you really look at it rationally, the program experience is definitely not worth that much money, it’s just like a small “black job”, and regular institutions can see that at a glance. The regular agencies can see it at a glance.

And there are too many such agencies and institutions, the market is mixed, I am lucky to be able to apply successfully, there are people around me to find such institutions, but in the end, they are not successful and do not give a refund, there is no place to cry. In short, “iron needs its own hard”, after you get out of the ivory tower, you will find that there are many things that are more difficult than applying for school or job hunting.

*At the request of the interviewer, Fang Ruohua, Korea, Bryan, Xiaoran, Topo, Duan Zhiang and Bruce are all pseudonyms in this article.

Would you pay to find an internship?