Is It Just Me, Or Are There More Internships Than Jobs? The Pros & Cons of Interning Post-Grad

September 10, 2012  |  

Source: crunkfeministcollective.wordpress.com

One month following my college graduation, my cushiony paid internship came to an end. For the first time in seven years, I wasn’t a student or an employee; my life had changed drastically. I quickly took to job boards, apps, classified ads, etc. in search of any form of employment in my career field. After filling out what felt like a million and one job applications, I patiently waited by the phone, anticipating a phone call that would change my life. I quickly learned the true meaning of a suffering job market. After months and months of chasing down job leads and open position postings, things looked pretty bleak, so bleak that I began to reconsider applying for internships. This was ironic because I thought I was through with interning, through with making coffee runs, and certainly through with working for free. However, my attitude quickly changed when the increasing unemployment rate became my reality.

Many recent college graduates share in this sentiment.They leave college with high expectations of landing the job of their dreams only to be greeted with a huge dose of reality, courtesy of our country’s poor job market. This leaves many so desperate to break into their field that they are willing to work for free or intern for a little something, especially if it means it will get them noticed by an employer who could possibly be impressed with their work ethic and offer them a paid position. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out this way. Interning after college can be hit or miss, it all depends on what you’re willing to sacrifice to get where you want to be. If you are a recent college graduate who is on the fence about pursuing an internship to gain career experience and exposure, hopefully this pro and con list will assist you in reaching a decision.

Pros: 

They assist you in acquiring hands on experience as well as exposure in your field

  • If you have the luck of obtaining an internship that let’s you do more than errand running and a whole lot of nothing, internships are great at helping you gain more experience and learn new tricks of the trade in your field.

Since you’re already an insider you could possibly get first pick at any job openings

  • Paying dues anyone? If you put in great work at your internship, or at least enough to impress people there who can pull strings, when positions open up, you could be one of the first to get a call.

They allow you to make great professional connections with those already working in your field.

  • Networking is everything these days. And even if you don’t get the job of your dreams after interning, you have the chance to make great connections. These connects in your field can keep you in the loop when job opportunities open up, and just put in a good word for you. They can also become good mentors, and who knows, maybe even friends.

They provide you with the platform to prove that you posses the skills to get the job done.

  • When all else fails and you can’t seem to find the job you’re looking for as soon as you would like, why let your talents go to waste? Getting to gain some experience in your field and getting the chance to both showcase and cultivate your skills is a good thing.

Experienced gained at an internship makes you more appealing to other potential employers.

  • The more internships on your resume doesn’t come off as a bad thing. That means you’ve gained a great deal of real-world experience and you have no big breaks in your work experience, even if it isn’t full-time work experience.

You are able to learn the inner workings of your field before you actually begin working.

  • This one pretty much speaks for itself. So you don’t look like a fish out of water when you finally start working, internships definitely let you know what kind of work you will be doing, and can definitely help you be more help than a hassle that someone has to train longer than necessary.

Cons: 

Most internships are unpaid

  • Times are hard, and while accepting an internship for more experience is great, it would be better if you were getting paid for it. Folk have bills to pay…A recent graduation sometimes means student loan payments (and possibly other expenses) are lurking around the corner; many new graduates can’t afford to work for free.

Many employers are aware of the troubled economy and as a result are taking advantage of the free labor since people are experiencing difficulty getting full-time jobs.

  • That could mean that many employers at different internships have no real plan on hiring you after you put in all that hard work.

Internships can become burdensome to those trying to work another job on the side.

  • Sometimes the expectations employers at internships have of you can keep you in an office for half of the day, making it hard to find a part-time job that fits your complicated schedule. And if it does fit, you might find yourself a bit exhausted and overwhelmed.

You may be working with other interns who may sometimes be younger and less mature than you.

  • If you’ve been out of school for a while and are still trying to do internships, be prepared for fellow interns who act like they need their hand held all the time, are ultimate brown nosers, or worse–complete slackers.

A large number of intern programs require you to receive college credit in return for your intern hours.

  • Who has money just laying around to pay some university for college credit so that they can work for free?

In the end, although interning after graduation can be a pretty challenging experience, it seems that the positives can certainly outweigh the negative in the long run.

What are your thoughts on post college internships? 

Jazmine Denise is a freelance writer living in New York. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise

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