The Right Post-Graduation Move: Internships

Since 2008, graduates have increasingly faced the same dilemma — how to secure one of very few available jobs in a struggling economy.

If you are one of the people who recently walked up to a podium and received the diploma that renders you an alumna or alumnus, rather than a student, you’ve probably sent out hundreds of resumes over the past semester. If you are lucky, you may have gotten a response. If you got a job you may have a guardian angel you don’t know about.

So what’s the plan?

Should you succumb to the pressure — surely mounting on all sides — to take it easy and relax after a grueling few years of term papers and unwanted requirements? After all, you might as well relax; you aren’t likely to have the opportunity to take a summer off again. And there aren’t any jobs anyway.

Nevermind your desire to push the pressures aside, this won’t make the almost-constant pestering from relatives asking how your job search is going any easier to swallow. You do need to get a move-on. Try to file away the inquires about your job hunt as background noise, but you do need a plan, and I don’t mean applying for summer jobs flipping burgers.

My plan is far more strategic.

Get an internship now while you pursue full-time employment.

Internships after Graduation

Seriously, you ask, an internship after graduating?!

Here are the four major reasons you ought to try this two-pronged approach:

  1. It’ll make your resume more robust.
    Blindly emailing out resumes is a series of shots in the dark, but maybe one of the reasons no one got back to you was because your CV lacked the essential skills employers in your field seek. An internship will help enhance the basic skills you already have. According to Mark Babbitt, founder of YouTern, employers are looking for five key skill sets: social media, digital media, marketing and public relations, business development, and web development. These, for the most part, are learned on-the-job, not in school.
  2. It’ll grow your personal and professional networks.
    No offense, but with very few exceptions, recent graduates have limited networks. It’s not that you aren’t worth meeting, but you are just at the start of your career. Internships will introduce you to new people. Let them get to know you and your work. Then, ask for introductions and recommendations.
  3. Work experience shows initiative.
    Unless the employer is the zoo, no one wants to hire a sloth. If you make an honest effort to land a job, you will impress potential employers far more than a candidate would who has done nothing but play video games, “hung out”, or “caught up on sleep” since graduation.
  4. Internships have a way of turning into full-time employment.
    This one is the clincher. It doesn’t happen always, or even most of the time. But in some instances, employers treat internships as trial runs for full-time positions. While your employers are trying you out, it’s not a bad idea for you to do your own sleuth work about the company and its culture. You will be building confidence before committing to full-time employment. Here’s Mark Babbitt again with an important statistic: 20 percent of YouTern’s interns receive offers of full-time employment, often from start-ups who have attracted investors.

So, forget the excuses. Cancel your Netflix account. Get out there and find an internship. You have four reasons to inspire you now.



Lesley is president and founder of Priority Candidates, which prepares college students and recent graduates nationwide to get hired for their first jobs.   Previously, Lesley spent more than 25 years in executive search, working with candidates from entry level to C-Suite executives in organizations ranging in size from small, family owned businesses to large international organizations.  Her fundamental knowledge of what hiring manager’s look for is the core of what Priority Candidates does to prepare college students/recent grads to get hired now.  An alumnus of Duke University who is based in New York City, Lesley has been featured in USA Today, ABC’s New York Viewpoint with Ken Rosato, ABC News with Art McFarland, The New York Times, NY Nightly News with NBC4’s Chuck Scarborough, eCampus News and John Tucker’s Small Business Report on Bloomberg Radio.   Lesley always welcomes connections via LinkedIn, on Twitter or by email or phone, available on her website.

Related posts:

  1. What Will You Do After Graduation?
  2. Personal Branding: Time to Reflect and Move Forward
  3. Treat Summer Internships Like Jobs

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