The Internship Option for New Grads

Despite the difficulties of today’s job market the fact remains organizations are continuing to hire.

In addition, recent government statistics show that college graduates still command the lowest unemployment rate among all demographics, although the number is still historically high.

So What Should a New Grad Do?

So, the good news is that jobs are out there. The bad news is that except for a few specialties the opportunities are fewer, the competition is greater, and the locations may require a major move. And finally, that dream job may not be available at all, requiring significant compromise. In fact, even public service jobs, such as AmericaCorp, are massively oversubscribed with applicants.

The Internship Option

I well understand that a realistic appraisal of personal or family economic conditions may preclude any alternative to finding a full time paid position.

But for many, especially young people who can live at home and/or combine a part-time job with an internship, this may be a short-term viable option.

The advantages of an internship are substantial:

  • An internship is a wonderful opportunity to work in an area that has relevance to your career aspirations.
  • An internship is also a relatively low-risk way to really test your goals, especially if the internship offers some meaningful access to the organization and its challenges.In fact many internships do enable an ambitious graduate with clear career goals to test whether these goals make sense. It is not exactly the same as having real responsibility and being tested in the crucible of budgets, sales quotas, customer deadlines, profit and loss metrics, and project deadlines, but it does provide access to those who do.
  • An internship is an excellent way to become familiar with the business, cultural and work demands of a going enterprise.
  • An internship provides an opportunity to start a network, a critical resource in the job search.
  • An internship also enables access to resources for learning, particularly if the position is an assistant to a senior manager.

The search for an internship requires skills similar to the job search. They include:

  • Clearly articulating the type of internships most suitable to your career goals
  • Researching those organizations that might be both a good fit and provide the right type of learning environment.
  • Identifying resources to help explore options, research opportunities, and examine alternatives.
  • Developing marketing material to promote yourself successfully such as a resume, cover letter and a portfolio.
  • Building a strategy that points in the right direction with an action plan that supports those goals that includes intensive networking.
  • Sharpening interviewing skills and learning how to prepare for that crucial interview with research, responding to those challenging questions, and creating that strong positive impression.

School and other resources can be invaluable such as the career services office, networking opportunities with staff, career fairs, company websites and, of course, family connections.

Bottom Line:

Internships are not for everyone. But the right internship can be a genuine start in the right direction for a fulfilling career.

About the author…

Judit Price CDFI, CCM, IJCTC, CPRW has an M.S. in Counseling and is a certified career guidance counselor in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She counsels college students and adults regarding career and college options. Judit was the biweekly career and employment related column for The Lowell Sun newspaper. She also authored and published Your Career and Life Plan Portfolio, a workbook for adults and college students.

Don't forget to share this article with friends!