Thanks to my upperclassmen friends, I spent the last 12 months or so getting a very good glimpse of what my life will be like in two years when I’m a senior. The cheerful and energetic juniors I had befriended as a freshman arrived on campus this past year with a big question looming above their heads: Am I going to land a job after I graduate?
But besides getting a job, what other options do exist? How do you get career experience if not from employment of some kind? The answer, collegiettes, lies with internships. Perhaps you, as a graduated student, assumed that your internship days were behind you, but there are some circumstances where you may actually want to opt for one.
So before you dismiss any post-college internship opportunity, take some time to weigh your options with the following information!
Think about getting an internship when...
Your job search hasn't turned anything up yet
A study by Rutgers University released this past May showed that starting with the class of 2006, only 51 percent of college grads hold full-time positions. As a result, it's no surprise that the job search doesn't work out for many college seniors.
While landing a full-time job should be a top priority, make sure that you're not holding out for too long. It's important to apply for jobs, but keep an eye on internship deadlines as well, or the opportunity to have something after you graduate may pass you by.
“Many internships require submitting an application for a specific time period, so it’s wise not to hold out too long if you still haven’t found a job,” advises Jesse Gant, CEO and co-founder of Recmnd.Me. “For example, if you graduate from college in May, you don’t want to wait until school is back in session to consider taking on an internship. All of the larger programs will already be in session and current students and other recent grads will fill those spots—especially paid opportunities.”
Even if you don't get a job, it's still important to have something that will demonstrate how much experience you have in the field. So though you can still be offered a job before the year ends, if nothing has turned up by a certain point looking into internships can help you out.
You're looking for more experience before you find a job
But some students start off senior year looking for an internship instead. Though securing a full-time job is the ideal goal, if you feel like you need more experience before going into the work force, finding an internship for after graduation can be right for you!
Take Alice Chen, recent Emory graduate and former Her Campus Editorial Intern who interned at Lucky magazine the summer after she graduated.
“I opted to do an internship after graduation because I didn't feel that I had enough experience in the magazine industry to find a job,” Alice recalls. “And the summer immediately after senior year felt like the last possible time I'd have a chance to do an internship, especially an unpaid one.”
Alice sought to expand her skill sets, which would make her more versatile when it came to actually finding a full-time job. So if you're also looking to gather more skills and knowledge before stepping into your professional life, you may want to consider an internship rather than hunt for a job straight away. This approach can work to your advantage, as our career experts attest.
“Internships can ultimately provide opportunities for the recent graduate to walk away with a portfolio of work that would be impressive to a full-time employer,” explains Bora Un, assistant director of undergraduate preparation at the University of Chicago. “You’re still gaining skills and experience that will make you competitive for full-time jobs.”