How Do I Find A Job After College: Internships

Posted by on in Life Transitions

You’ve just graduated college. You did everything right: went to class, studied hard, made good grades, participated in student organizations, and had a summer internship. But you are still wondering, “How do I find a job after college?” The truth is that the answer to the question is slightly difficult. Because of the current job market, landing a job right after college can be pretty difficult. In fact, some recent graduates are making the decision to spend time right after school participating in internships, whether they have interned before or not. Gaining real-world work experiences, like those provided through an internship, really does go a long way when it comes to landing your first job.

However, if you have already participated in an internship opportunity, then you may not want to do that again after you graduate. But because of the current economy and job market, many recent graduates are vying for internships and fellowships, since there are sometimes more openings for those experiences than there are job openings. These same graduates also know that they can later use their internship experience to land a job. Other recent graduates take the plunge and devote themselves to the job hunt. Life after college, while unpredictable, is ultimately what you choose it to be. You have the opportunity to decide what is best for you and your future career. Either way, having that internship experience may go a long way in landing you your first job after college. In order to really make your experience count, you need to know how to use your internship to land a job. Below, you are going to find helpful information on how to use your internship to your advantage when it comes to searching for your first job.

Experience Really Does Matter

Throughout your college career, you most likely heard professionals and professors both say how important experience is. When it comes to hiring, most employers look for candidates that have relevant experience on their resumes. Unfortunately, as a recent graduate, you may not have the most relevant work experience, unless you participated in an internship. A lack of relevant work experience can set you back, meaning you have even more trouble finding a job after graduation. However, if you have an internship experience or are planning on having one, then you need to know that experience really will go a long way. Here are some ways in which experience really helps you out.

Working with Others: While a typical and normal college experience may provide you with some teamwork experiences, they are not necessarily indicative of what working in an office with coworkers will be like. In order to have that experience of working with others, you need to actually work in an office setting. As you begin searching for and applying to jobs, employers are going to see that you have interned and therefore understand how to work in an office and interact with co-workers.

Following Directions: It may seem fairly simple, but following directions for a paper in college is different than following directions in a work environment. Instead of getting a bad grade, poor work performance can possibly result in you being let go from your position or company. Having an internship experience will let you see, firsthand, what job expectations are like. Not only will you most likely have expectations placed on you, but you will also be able to observe the expectations placed on others and how they deal and interact with those expectations.

Learning about the Job: If you have not had an internship experience in the past, then you should consider participating in one right after college because this is a great opportunity to understand what the job you want to do is actually like. During your internship experience, you are going to be able to learn not only about the job you want to do someday, but also how your job fits into your desired field and in the scheme of a company. This knowledge will be great when you start applying for jobs and will help you understand how your job functions within the office setting.

Is An Internship Right for You?

For those that have not yet had that internship experience and are considering it after graduating, you want to make sure that it really is the right decision. Consider whether an internship is really going to be valuable to you or not: will the experiences and skills you gain really help you advance your career? While the experience will provide you with great opportunities and give you something of an advantage when you begin applying for jobs, an internship may not be the best option for you right after graduation. Here are some things you need to consider before you make this decision.

Low Pay: There is a good chance that during your interview experience you are not going to be paid very well. For some interns, you can expect to not be paid at all. With that in mind, you need to consider your financial situation before applying for any internships. Think about whether you can afford to work for little to no pay and whether you would have enough time to take on another job to make ends meet.

Entry-Level Work: While you should try to find an internship that allows you to engage in meaningful, hands-on work, you also need to know that you are going to have to perform entry-level work, such as filing, copying, stuffing envelopes, and making phone calls. Try not to let these tasks discourage you: they are important skills, and you are fulfilling a vital function.

Your Internship on Your Resume


Since you probably will not have very many work experiences to list on your resume, it is important that you play up your internship on your resume in just the right way. However, you do not want to overplay your internship experience because in the end it is not quite the same as real-world working experience. Here are some suggestions for including your internship on your resume.

Time Frame: While it may seem a little trivial and not all that important, the timeline for your internship is extremely important. While a one-month internship will provide you with some experience and knowledge, it will not provide you with as much experience or knowledge as an internship lasting three or five months. It is important that you let anyone who might be reading your resume know how long you were at your internship. The duration of your internship will show that are committed and that you attained valuable knowledge.

Skills Acquired: No matter what job experience you are listing on your résumé, it is important to list what skills you acquired while you were an intern. Because your internship is most likely going to be your most relevant work experience, it is important that you list the skills you acquired while there that are applicable to the job position for which you are applying.

What You Learned: It is important, besides the skills you acquired, to explain what you learned and how you developed during your internship experience. Again, because this is your most applicable work experience, you really want to play up the experience as having been a great learning time for you and as one that will help you in any job you may be seeking.

Your Internship During the Interview


While it is important for you to include your internship on your resume, it is even more important to make sure you discuss your internship during your interview. You have to keep in mind that your internship is the foundation for your experience and may ultimately help you land the job you are applying to. Because employers are looking for employees with real experience, this is your chance to explain how your internship has provided you with the knowledge and skills that are necessary for the job. Here are some great ways to include your internship in your interview.

When Answering Questions: During an interview, the interviewer will ask you about your prior work experience and about your qualifications for the position at hand. Use this as an opportunity to talk about your internship and how it provided you with relevant experience and skills. Be honest about things that you would still like to learn or skills you would like to hone.

Explaining Your Experiences: Some of the questions that are asked during your interview may require you to explain specific experiences and challenges you have gone through in previous work environments. Again, because of your limited experience, this is a great chance for you to talk about how you were challenged or not challenged in your internship. It is ultimately up to you to explain your experiences as an intern and how they are going to impact you as an employee.

An internship is a valuable opportunity that will provide you with hands-on experiences, new skills, and connections. You will see firsthand what it is like to work in your desired field, and your internship may provide you with a foot in the door and will undoubtedly bolster your resume. The point of an internship is to build your experience and your resume, and employers will notice your accomplishments. So, make that internship work for you and let it help you move ahead.

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