Although four years of college is supposed to prepare students for the "real world," many of us are still lost on what to do after we hang up our cap and gown. Internships, both before and after you walk across the stage, can be a great way to try out different career options and see which one is best. Having graduated in the worst economic times in over 25 years (lucky, I know), a post-graduation internship can be an ideal choice for recent grads who are unable to secure a full-time position, or are still unsure which career path to pursue.
Surprisingly enough, taking an internship after graduation may be more beneficial to some students than an entry-level position. Internships allow you to learn about different departments within a given industry before committing to just one. You may have always wanted a career in marketing, but until you work in that department, how do you really know if you'll enjoy it? By interacting with different people in a variety of fields, you can learn more about what you value in a work environment and what types of projects you prefer. College courses give you the basics to succeed in a position; postgrad internships give you the chance to find out what type of position you really want.
Not only does a postgrad internship provide an opportunity to explore a new industry, it also allows recent grads to establish career contacts and begin networking. One of the most commonly used words by college career counselors and academic advisors, networking is continually stressed as vital, especially when you're first starting out. Having experienced professionals and supervisors who are able to vouch for your work ethic, dedication and skills is essential; and an internship is a great way to showcase your abilities. You may start out as an intern, but a full-time job offer may not be far behind if you are able to impress your managers.
So if you come across an exciting opportunity in an interesting company, don't let the word "internship" deter you from applying. While you might have to put off buying the new iPhone for a few more months, at least you'll be gaining experience to add to your resume. Academic clubs and extracurriculars are great, but without that dreaded "real world" experience, being co-chair of your school's programming board only means so much. While it can be hard for our generation to look ahead--I don't even like to make plans for the weekend before Friday afternoon--a postgrad internship can be a smart career move and a great investment in your future.
-Posted by Rebecca Zissou
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