Monday, June 30, 2014

The Post-Internship Phase?

By: Megan Quinn
What is the first thing that comes to mind when searching for a real-world, post-college graduation job?

If you instantly think of internships and/or job experience, you are in the ballpark. Internships are great for giving college students a taste of what their future job responsibilities will be, depending on their major of choice. College students are constantly hunting for the next best opportunity to learn from the professionals they could be one day.

Believe it or not, public relations internships are the most popular kind according to PR Daily. I used to think that finding a public relations job would be the easiest thing in the world. Every company needs a public relations point person, right? Or so I thought. The job market is tougher than it looks for recent graduates. Even though we have heard this time and time again, that is probably the worst possible thing you could say to a recent college graduate with no job offers. PR Daily gathered findings from InternMatch's recent study, the 2014 State of the Internship Report. After polling more than 9,000 students from universities nationwide, they concluded that only 16.6 percent of seniors received job offers as of April 30, 2014.

That being said, one piece of advice I can give to recent college graduates is to be open-minded about the opportunities that come your way. If you find a job in your field - even if it is the lowest position on the totem pole of your profession - take it, and pay your dues. It could turn out to be an amazing opportunity to set up your future. If an internship doesn't pay you while you are still in college, that's okay. The majority of internships in America are unpaid. Only 48.3 percent of the 9,000 interns polled through InternMatch reportedly were paid.

You can learn a lot from internships, and if you take unpaid one while in college, find another way to benefit from it besides just “the experience.” Apply to have your internship count as college credit. Seek out opportunities in your internship to showcase your skills or ask to take on larger tasks or projects. The difference your attitude can make at an internship is incredible. Your supervisor will thank you and notice the amount of responsibility you wish to have.

It is important to note that internships are not just for your college years. InternMatch also concluded that 39.3 percent of graduates have done two or more internships. This is normal; don’t let yourself feel like internships are a thing of the past once you have your degree in hand. Until a full-time position in your field comes along, internships are your new best friend. You can make connections, get a feel for the “real world” and gain an edge in the job market over other recent graduates.

Always keep your eyes open and don't be afraid to reach out to the people on those business cards you've been stockpiling for upcoming internship opportunities. Remind those contacts where you met them and what you last spoke about. Preferably it is a good idea to email new contacts the same day and say what a pleasure it was to meet them. Meanwhile, mention you are internship hunting and ask if they can keep you in mind in case an opportunity comes up.

Good luck and happy hunting!

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