Once you’ve got your diploma in your hand, you’d think the hard part is over and that finding a job should be a breeze. Unfortunately, for many newly graduated college alumni, landing a dream career in their field is way harder than planned. Many are now turning to short-term internships to help the transition. However, there are some major pros and cons with doing an internship after graduation. Here’s the breakdown to help you decide if an internship is right for your post-commencement plans.
The biggest pro is that you’ll be working. Sure, you may not be making much (or anything, if it’s an unpaid internship), but a job is a job, especially if it’s a foot in the door of a place you’d really like to work. You’ll be able to put this experience on your resume, which could really improve your application if you didn’t work while in school.
While working, you’ll get your name out there. It’s said that most of the jobs are filled less by traditional application and more about face-to-face networking. If you’re able to score an internship in your field with a prestigious or growing business or with working under someone “in the know,” you could really benefit from the experience.
Internships are also a great idea if you’ve had a change of heart. For example, let’s say you are a graduate with an art degree but you have decided you don’t want to be a professional artist after all. While it may be too late to change your major, you could move into a new field by interning right after college. Instead of taking on a job you do not like, interning at a museum, as a digital designer, or in marketing could get you the relevant experience minus the degree.
We hate to say this, but it’s important to remember that most internships are unpaid. And unlike college where your tuition covered your room and board, you’re going to need to make some cash to pay for your apartment or to put food on the table. You’ll also have student loans coming due soon after you graduate, so you cannot forget to budget for that.
Interning life is expensive, and even if you get a small stipend, you may need to take on a second job to meet all the rest of your expenses. So on top of trying to impress your bosses at the 9-5 gig, there’s a real possibility you’ll be pulling double duty at a night job and still only make minimum wage.
Internships also mess with your schedule. Instead of having time to apply around for an actual, paying job, you’ll be busy behind a desk as an intern. Because many internships require a timed commitment, such as a three-month contract, you won’t be able to get out of your work without burning some bridges and it reflecting poorly on you in the future. So what an internship essentially does is delay the inevitable — the application process.
To Intern or Not to Intern?
When deciding if your next step should be an internship or not, there are a few major things to consider.
For one, can you afford it? Living with or getting assistance from your parents may ease that burden. Secondly, assess whether you will you have time to continue your job search so you’re not in limbo.
By solving or relieving those big negatives, you can take advantage of the opportunities interning has to offer recent grads.