I am 24 years old and graduated from the University of Georgia in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism. I also received a Certificate in Music Business. I currently work for a sports marketing agency. I enjoy hanging out with my 1 year old daughter, going to concerts and reading fiction.
After graduation you can’t expect to immediately get hired by a competitive company with only part time jobs and relevant course work on your resume. Nowadays having at least one internship looks good to the recruiter interviewing you. But the downside of an internship is that it may be unpaid, but you can get course credit. Most college students need money, because mom and dad aren’t freely giving out allowances anymore. So who wants to spend their summer working and making no money to spend on their Fourth of July vacation? Not many people. But internships are preparing you for your future and putting you a little ahead of the other people applying for the same job. On the plus side, having an unpaid internship shows your dedication to gain more experience in the field that you are studying and if it’s unpaid it is usually only a limited amount of hours a week so, if you like, you could still have a part time job making a little money on the side.
So where do you start looking? Most universities and college have career centers that help students find jobs and internships. Professors can connect you to companies that may be looking for students even during the fall and spring semester. And of course career sites and social media sites like LinkedIn can be helpful as well. Another thing that is great about internships is that you can really see what a job may be like in your major and decide if that is something you could see yourself doing or you may decide that it’s not for you and choose to do something else completely. I did three unpaid internships in college along with being a part of an on campus organization. The internships showed me the aspects I liked in my field of study and showed me what I hope I would never have to do in my career. They also made my resume stand out among others and got me interviews that I wouldn’t have gotten with just my coursework alone.
I advise college students to start looking for an internship even before you have determined your major. The summer after freshman year is a good time to have your first hands on experience because if you really don’t like it then you can change your major before you get too deep into it. It will also build your professional connections long before you graduate. That is another great thing about internships, building your network. When it is time to graduate and apply for jobs, if you have done an internship, you can go back to those companies and your old supervisors and let them know that you are interested in working full time for them. They may have a position available and then you can get ahead in the interview process, because you already know about the company and they already know about you. In most cases it usually goes over well and you have a job guaranteed before you graduate or before most of your peers. That makes doing the unpaid internship worthwhile and not having the stressful months of interview after interview looking for a full time job.