I used to think once you graduated from college you were past the internship stage of life; well, this economy has changed that. Right after graduation I was beat out for a job by a guy who not only had his masters, but also wrote novels. The competition is tough out there, people. That is why taking an internship as a college grad is not shameful, but now can be just another necessary step toward a successful career.
I spent weeks searching job boards in select cities after graduation, and was left empty-handed. I tried to reach outside of my networking radar and failed. I finally realized I needed to switch up my search and look beyond what was being offered.
I chose a city where I knew I would have connections, and then found a business I was interested in. I called and left a voicemail, telling about my interest and how I had heard about the company. I also put in a plug for my college, which I knew was the company president’s alma mater. Later that day, the president called me back and told me I could stop in sometime, even though there were no positions available for me.
Although it was nearly a two-hour drive, I made a point to get there that next week.
After talking with him for a while and expressing my interest and passion for the company, I bravely asked if he would consider taking me on as an intern. Much to my surprise he seemed intrigued by the offer, and within three days, offered me the position — the position that I essentially created for myself.
Here are a few reasons why post college internships can be beneficial:
• You will continue to gain great work experience and skills for future jobs.
• You will be keeping yourself marketable.
• You will continue to enhance your resume.
• You will make more contacts. Networking, networking, networking.
• They might ask you to stay on for full-time employment when the internship is complete.
• It is much more productive that sitting on the couch or flipping burgers.
A few tips on finding an internship post college:
• Be persistent. Call, e-mail, stop by, call again and leave voicemails.
• Think outside the box and move beyond online job boards.
• Sell yourself. Make the company feel a need for your skills.
• Offer to begin part time or even volunteer a few hours a week — anything to get your foot in the door.
• Be flexible. Be willing to work with an inconvenient schedule at first and offer to work whatever hours need filled.
Be active and diligent in your searching. Sometimes we need to step out from behind our laptops and just start knocking on doors. We can’t be afraid to creatively form our own positions. My post-grad internship started barely above minimum wage at only 4 hours a week. I had to work mornings at a cupcake shop and evenings waiting tables to make ends meet, but it was completely worth it. The company where I was interning eventually pulled me in to a more permanent role, and months later this experience landed me a full time job with a company I had been gunning for.
No one is going to hand you your dream job after graduation—it is up to you to fight for it! Even if you graduated six years ago and are stuck in a job you never wanted, it is never too late to look into internships. It might be the exact step you need to launch you into your desired career.
Did you have a post-grad internship? Share how this helped launch you into your next role.