Internships for college graduates may not run as rampant as internships for undergraduates, but they’re still possible to find. In fact, if you’re having trouble after graduation finding the job you really want, an internship may be your best bet.
Some internships are perfect for college graduates, but others are a waste of time. Therefore, you should think about a few details before applying for — or accepting — an internship after college.
What Makes a Good Internship Opportunity?
The main point of taking an internship as a college graduate is to get your foot in the door when it comes to the career you want. This means that if you are offered an opportunity to intern for a company you would love to work for in the future, you should likely take it. If you impress management, you could end up with a full-time job after the internship.
Alternately, maybe the company is not stellar, but it’s at still in the field you’re interested in. If you just need some experience in a particular industry before you can confidently apply elsewhere, taking an internship as a college graduate may be wise. Other companies will see that you have an idea of how the job works so that you are not starting from scratch.
In addition, some internships for college graduates actually pay since employers are aware that you need to make a living somehow! Do not expect the pay to be great, but if you only have to get an additional part-time job to make ends meet, consider yourself lucky since many internships are completely unpaid.
When Should You Decline an Offer?
Some internships for college graduates are not that appealing and may only be offered by companies looking to take advantage of recent grads. For example, getting coffee for employees and making copies all day will not teach you much about your desired career, unless you want to work at a coffeehouse or copy center.
This is why you should avoid taking an internship that will not further your knowledge or skill set. In most cases, such a position will not impress potential employers unless you can spin menial tasks into meaningful work while discussing your internship during interviews. Thus, some internships can be a waste of time for college graduates seeking employment.
Also, like with any position, make sure you do your research on the company first before accepting any offers. If you’ve heard nothing but bad things about the company, you should probably pass. Working at a company that has a bad reputation among employees is bad enough when you’re getting paid and likely unbearable when you are working for free or on the cheap.
When Is the Answer “Maybe”?
Though it is always a plus when a company pays college graduates who take on internships, it is not necessarily bad when they do not. If your dream company wants to hire you to work for free, and you have been told that you can sit in on meetings and actually do something that matters, you should consider taking the position.
If, however, it seems that your internship will just consist of you doing grunt work for free and not work related to your field, you should probably say no to the offer. In that case, you might be better off working as a server, cashier or other position totally unrelated to your major. Such jobs would at least likely pay better than most internships for college graduates and at the end of the day it’s still valid work experience.
Are you a recent grad who just accepted a job or internship? Did you work an internship after college before landing a more career orientated job? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!