Too Late to Intern?
September 05, 2008
The job market is tough for recent college graduates. Many grads find it difficult to gain entry into the career of their choice.
What can you do to raise your profile? Consider an internship.
It’s never too late to have an internship in order to gain experience in your field of interest. Many recent (and not-so-recent) college graduates arrange their own internships after graduation.
Internships offer valuable work experience, help you develop marketable skills and beef up your resume. Best of all, they can help you land a job when a position becomes available within an organization.
Working with professionals, you tap into a network that can offer references, advice and information about new job opportunities.
It may not be called an “internship” per se — you might simply need to volunteer.
When you approach organizations, don’t ask only about internships. Let them know that you’re looking for experience of any kind, whether it’s through an internship or a more informal arrangement like volunteering.
Finding an Internship
Finding an internship, no matter what your age, is a job in and of itself. Here are some suggestions:
- Arrange an internship on your own. Research companies in the field you’d like to enter. Call the companies directly and ask to speak with the hiring manager. Be sure to mention that you’re looking for an internship or volunteer opportunity, not a full- time position.
- Work with your college career counselor (or even one at other college). Many college and university career services offices – especially those at two-year community colleges – work not only with their own students but also with members of the community at large. You may have to pay a fee for these services, but the expertise and personal connections you’ll be able to tap into may well be worth the financial investment.
- Network with family, friends, and members of local professional groups. Perhaps there’s a professional organization in your community made up of people working in the field you’re thinking of pursuing; you could attend the group’s next meeting to find out, and to put out feelers for internship possibilities.
- Use online and offline resources. Many online job boards (like Monster.com) include internship listings. You can also use one of the published internship directories like Peterson’s Internship Guide or The Internship Bible that come out every year.