A few days ago, I was grocery shopping and overheard two women bragging about their daughters. They were talking about how their daughters had just graduated and landed these fabulous jobs, while their friends were only interning.
This got me thinking about my past internships, and how if I hadn’t happened to find my current position, I would likely still be interning at this stage of my career. I wanted to walk up to the women and tell them that interning after graduation can actually be a great way to further your career, but instead I grabbed my yogurt and fled the scene, pledging to compose a passive aggressive blog post about these ladies in the near future.
Most people who have completed internships throughout their collegiate careers realize that internships are truly what you make of them. Often times, supervisors will promise the world to their interns, when in reality many interns end up making copies and coffee for nothing but academic credits… that they pay for. If you want to get exposure or try a new task, you have to persistently make it known that you’re available.
Internships in the post grad world are a bit different in that there is much more at stake. In college, after your summer internship you head back to classes with some experience of the “working world” and hopefully a few contacts.
As a post grad, there is nothing following the internship. You either have a job offer at that company, or it’s back to the job hunting drawing board. This doesn’t make your internship any less valuable (yup, I’m talking to you yogurt ladies). It just means that you really must make the most of it to see any type of result.
Here are some tips for making the most of your post grad internship:
-Ask questions- This is actually true for any level of interning, asking questions shows that you are willing to learn and genuinely interested in your work. Want to help write the next press release the company sends out? Ask. Your interest and willingness to try new things might be what prompts the company to offer you a job.
-Be sure to communicate everything you’ve learned- Let’s say that your current internship doesn’t end up offering you a full time gig and you find yourself interviewing for other full time positions. While every job might not require the same skill set, I bet the personal growth you experienced through your internship that can stretch over many fields. For example, in my interview for my current full time job, I spoke about a video production internship experience that was less than ideal and how I handled it. While video production is not a part of my current job at all, I know the problem solving skills I learned will be valuable for any position.
-Be aware of your finances- Do not accept unpaid internships after graduation unless you are financially able to do so. Plain and simple.
-Don’t let rejection get to you- When I was rejected after my first post grad internship interview, I felt like my degree was useless. It seemed like the perfect position, a blend of marketing writing, and social media. It was even paid with room for advancement! I allowed myself one night to sulk and then continued job hunt the next day. Within weeks I landed my current full time position. Ironically, I now have the same job title as the woman who interviewed and rejected me for the internship.
What about you readers, any tips for post grad interns? We’d love for you to share!