In just a few short months, most of us seniors will be walking the stage to receive our diplomas. This ritual symbolizes both a beginning and an end – the end of countless hours in the library cramming for finals, and the beginning of countless hours behind a computer screen, relentlessly searching for internships and entry-level positions.
For those of you who were smart enough to nail down an internship during college, I applaud you. The importance of having an internship before you graduate is greater now than ever. According to the Chronicles of Higher Education, the significance of internships during college and how it relates to post-graduation employment is huge. It rates above your universities reputation, your GPA, your major, extracurricular activities, and even your employment during school.
With the ever-growing importance of internships, many concerns have been raised regarding the fact that many companies only offer un-paid positions. In fact, there has even recently been a ruling from an appeals court, which essentially allows companies to continue with these un-paid internships as long as the work is directly linked to that intern’s education. Don’t expect to be nicely compensated while working for a company as an intern. However, there are companies that do offer paid internships, you just have to keep looking and remain persistent. Meaning, don’t just apply to two or three, apply to ten, fifteen, or even fifty.
So, my suggestion to everyone is that once you’ve really decided on what you’d like to study, don’t wait too long to starting looking for internships. Create a LinkedIn account, and update it monthly, or anytime you feel that you can add something relevant. Another good resource is looksharp.com, a website that specializing in paid internships. Be on top of this search, as this could quite literally make or break you when it comes to post-graduation employment.
For many, including myself, walking the stage feels more like walking the plank. Don’t be that person.