You all know my story — job hunt, let down, hunt some more. But I am happy to inform you that I just landed, you guessed it, an internship! I used to think that once you graduated you were past the internship stage of life; well, this economy has changed that. I was recently beat out for a different internship by a man who not only had his masters, but also writes novels. The competition is tough out there, people. That is why taking an internship as a college grad is not shameful experience, but now just another necessary step toward a successful career.
After weeks of searching job boards and Googling positions in selected cities, I was left empty-handed. I tried to reach outside of my networking radar and failed. I’m not saying it is impossible, but when you are looking for a position with a company that has never heard of you, and therefore knows nothing about your abilities and character, it is hard — extremely hard. I finally realized I needed to switch up my search options and look beyond what was being offered.
I chose a city where I knew I would have connections and then thought of an organization I would be interested in. I called and left a message 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 also 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 the 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.
He told me that I was one of the few college students who had ever approached him. He went on to say that if my generation would try harder to find positions, instead of waiting for the position to come to them, more of us would be employed. This is an interesting view from an employer, and it may frustrate some of us, but sadly they are the ones with the hiring power — not us.
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 résumé.
- You will make more contacts. Networking, networking, networking.
- You will be available to stay on for full-time employment when the internship is complete.
A few tips on finding an internship post college:
- Be persistent. Call, e-mail, stop by, call, 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.
The economy has made this job market a tough one, and that is a fact that we cannot ignore. Finding jobs after graduation just doesn’t work like it used to, and because of this we have to adjust to the times. We need to be active and diligent in our searching. And sometimes we need to step out from behind our laptops and go. We can’t be afraid to creatively form our own positions and throw ideas out there.
Check out this link for more Q&A from graduates who are contemplating internships.
Stories or advice?
P.S. Thank you, everyone, for your prayers, moral support and advice during my transition period. I hope my experiences will help others who are still looking.