I think internships are overrated. Most of the time, the employer thinks he's doing the intern a favor, but he doesn't trust the interns to do any actual thoughtful, intelligent work worth talking about. And to be fair, most of the time the interns are busy hiding, not grabbing responsibility but instead acting like they're in school, avoiding hard work and trying to get an A.
Charlie Hoehn has written a beautifully designed ebook that may change the way you think about this. His argument is that 'free work' is something else entirely. It's done as a freelancer, remotely, without direct supervision and it creates a measurable output.
Free work isn't easy to get. Big companies, for example, have bureaucrats that don't often know what to do with a great offer like this. And some people (I'll put myself in this category) are too hands-on to take advantage of it. But you'd be amazed at how many fast-moving companies or influential individuals are all too happy to share credit if it helps the work get done.
And the benefit to the underemployed? You guessed it: great experience and a resume builder that actually means something. Isn't it odd that we're willing to spend $300,000 to buy an accredited but ultimately useless academic line on our resume, but we hesitate to do a month of hard work to create a chunk of experience that's priceless?