We are still operating in a recession and the slow recovery is still contributing to a tight job market. As of January 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.2 percent for individuals with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. With a still grim outlook new college grads would need to find different approaches to secure a job after college versus spending hours on job boards submitting resumes and cover letters. Internships, externships and assistantships can serve as vehicles that can help an individual land a job after college.
An internship can be a method of on-the-job training which can provide practical experience for beginners entering a profession. It gives you the opportunity to make the right impression with the employer which can lead to future employment. The National Association of College and Employers (NACE) conducted a 2013 Internship & Co-op Survey from November 15, 2012, to February 1, 2013. Of the 1,060 NACE employer members 306 organizations participated showing that employers made full-time offers to 56.5 percent of their interns. A listing of all 306 organizations and the full executive summary can be found here.
For college students it’s never to early to look into Internships whether it is credit based (unpaid) or for the summer, spring semester or fall semester. Employers allocate a significant amount of their recruiting budgets for career fairs and on-campus recruiting for interns as it has continuously proven to be highly effective. The best way to prepare for an internship and find a resource for career fairs is your college career services office. They are there to assist with resume preparation, critiques and conducting mock interviews.
Educational institutions and private businesses offer externships to give students brief hands on experience in their field of study which occurs after coursework has been completed. To give insight on how the externship works and the benefits I wanted to highlight the Richland College Community Pharmacy Technician program where I serve as their Externship Coordinator. The externship allows students to apply didactic and laboratory work to real life situations. Students work under the direction of pharmacists and technicians for CVS or independent pharmacies to practice and observe all reasonable aspects of professional practice within the pharmacy. Upon completion of their externship at CVS pharmacies around 70 percent of the students are hired on permanently.
Graduate students can look into obtaining a teaching or research assistantship within their respected program. Students that obtain this receive a partial or complete college tuition waiver and may also receive a stipend depending on the college. The experience cultivates rich learning, develops research abilities and enhances leadership skills. Working with faculty and under the leadership of a professor will allow you to have exposure to their network that is available. Also, taking advantage of attending industry specific conferences at the time can serve as great networking opportunities as well. Depending on staffing needs after the completion of your coursework and assistantship a job offering could be extended.
I have seen first-hand how internships and externships can have a lasting input on career decision-making. Completing my internship to close out my senior year allowed me to realize I didn’t want to pursue a career in meteorology. However, a friend of mine who was completing his internship at the time was able to obtain employment at a station following his internship which led to catapulting his career as a meteorologist into larger markets.