In 2019, college seniors graduated into the most robust job market in more than a decade, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). With young workers in such demand, is there any reason a recent graduate should consider accepting an internship rather than a full-time entry-level job? For many job seekers the answer is yes.
Reason number one: NACE reports that graduates with internship experience are more likely to obtain job offers and that those offers come with higher salaries for students who have completed one or more internship.
Here are a few more reasons to consider accepting an internship after graduation:
Internships can land you a full-time position.
If you land an internship with a company you would like to work for, interning can give you an advantage when the next full-time position opens up. In 2018, over 56 percent of interns converted their apprentice roles into full-time positions at the same company.
Even if there is not a formal internship program at the company you would most want to work for in your field, if you cannot secure an entry-level position there, you should consider crafting your own internship proposal and sending it the HR department, or better yet to the manager of the department you would most want to work for.
You’re more likely than ever to get paid to learn.
Thanks to the tighter job market, wages for internships are on the rise and fewer internships remain unpaid. At the same time, some lawmakers are calling for a minimum hourly wage for all interns.
All of this makes a post-grad internship all the more useful as a job-seeking tool since paid internships are viewed more favorably by hiring managers than unpaid ones, and paid interns tend to be extended higher-paying job offers, according to NACE.
Internships increase your skills and options.
Even if your internship doesn’t culminate in a job offer, the time spent at a company in your field can yield valuable mentoring and contacts that will broaden your network and increase your chances of landing a job at another company. In addition to making you more attractive to future employers, internships also increase your chances of getting into grad school.
In many fields, an internship is essential.
Hiring managers in some industries have come to expect internship experience as an essential qualification. In a sense this means that internships have taken the place of entry-level jobs. According to Time magazine, the growth in internships can be linked to increased college attendance and graduation rates. With so many graduates to choose from, an internship has come to be seen as evidence of commitment to your chosen field.
Internships help instill professionalism.
Due to the increased complexity of the workplace, internships are now seen as the space where theory meets practice and new graduates gain the skills and polish needed to justify an entry-level salary. As a bonus these soft skills, including communication, leadership, teamwork and negotiation, will help make your resume more robust and attractive to HR professionals.
Internships are valuable resume builders.
Just as you would for a job, you will need to create a resume and cover letter to apply for internships. To begin, consider using a resume template like the ones available from LiveCareer.com to build your resume. If you have no previous internship or work experience, you will likely want to employ a functional resume template. Once you have completed this task, you will want to customize your resume for each internship you seek.
As you come to the end of your internship, the experience you’ve gained will become a valuable focal point of the resume you will send to secure your first full-time professional position in your field.
Who should consider an internship after graduation?
- If after graduation you are faced with the choice of accepting a job that is not in your field and does not require a college degree, and your other option is an internship in your dream field, you should probably take the post-grad internship.
- If you haven’t had any internships during college, especially if your resume also does not include part-time positions in your field, campus leadership roles or volunteer experience. With scant work experience, it will be fairly easy for potential employers to see that your knowledge of your desired field is confined to the classroom.
- If you can afford low pay or no pay, several months or even a year without a professional-level salary should be viewed as an investment. You may be able to undertake a part-time job during your internship to bring in more money depending on the time constraints and demands of your internship.
- Is there any reason not to consider a post-graduation internship?
- If you’ve already completed multiple internships and secured strong references within your field, you likely have a robust enough work history to begin applying for entry-level roles. Strong campus and volunteer leadership roles are also good indicators that hiring managers will view your application seriously.
- If you’ve started your own small business or have held several part-time jobs with increasing levels of responsibility, it makes sense to seek an entry-level role right out of college.
- If you cannot afford a no-pay or low-pay internship, you should try to secure an entry-level role if you can, but the smart bet is to seek paid internships simultaneously so that you have options.