Many college seniors expect to have a full-time job waiting for them after graduation.
And a brand new car. And keys to a top-floor apartment with a view.
But if you’re planning to graduate this semester, get ready for a major reality check. Life after graduation often means moving back in with your first set of roommates (Mom and Dad) and living at home while continuing on with the dreaded job search.
After living on your own, excelling in your classes (hello, you graduated!) and rising to the top of the food chain in your clubs or sorority, returning to your childhood bedroom with no job offer may seem like a huge bruise to your ego. Not to mention this sudden surge of downtime makes for a confusing adjustment to life after college—how do you make efficient use of your time when you’re still straddling the line between college student and full-time employee?
This is where the post-graduate internship comes in.
Many students assume the “end goal” of college is graduating with a job offer. But once the cap and gown come off, it becomes clear that there is no one set path all graduates take. Some grads go straight to an entry-level job, some travel and some opt for a post-college internship.
Considering Option #3? You’re not alone. There are many reasons why recent grads choose to intern after college.
Here are the top 5 perks that come along with the post-graduate internship:
You Buy Yourself More Time To Explore Your Interests
Take it from a recent grad, the job hunt is excruciating. But the search becomes 1000x more difficult when even you don’t know where you see yourself five years down the road. Your job hunt will continue to plateau until you take some time to think and hammer out what you want (and no, the best way to “contemplate your interests” is not sleeping until 1 p.m. and spending your afternoons watching Netflix).
You need to get out there and explore your possible careers in a hands-on setting. After a few episodes of Sex and the City, you may *think* you’re meant to be a writer like Carrie or a badass PR queen like Samantha, but you won’t really know until you actually hold a position in that field. Apply to a wide range of internships, accept a position that piques your interest and get a better feel for your prospective industry.
You Can “Test Drive” The City Of Your Dreams
Picture yourself in the Big Apple but not sure if you’re ready to commit to the big move? When you sign the contract for a full-time position, you’re committing to the city as well as the job.
Accepting an internship outside of your hometown is the perfect way to get an idea of what life in another city is like without uprooting yourself permanently. The standard internship only lasts 3 to 6 months, so find temporary housing and take advantage of this opportunity to get to know a new city before you have to commit to a town that you may or may not end up loving.
You Give Your Resume A Boost
Back in the day, all you needed was a degree and strong work ethic to score a full-time position. But in today’s job market, students who have held only one internship (or zero internships!) simply aren’t in the running for many entry-level positions.
Most companies view internships as precursors to a full-time job. So if you didn’t intern enough during college, this is your chance. You can spend the next few months after graduation making up for lost intern time.
You Make $$$
To get around wage and labor laws, most unpaid internships require students to receive school credit for their services. However, companies can’t “pay” you in college credit if you’re no longer enrolled in school. Unless you agree to simply volunteer your time, your post-grad internship will come with a paycheck.
And the best part? With classes no longer filling up the bulk of your schedule, you are able to dedicate more time to working and interning—and the more hours you work, the more $$$ you rack up. Transitioning into a full-time intern allows you to make money instead of spending it on textbooks and credit hours.
There Are Internship Programs Specifically For College Grads
Employers are aware of how much time, work and skill went into earning your degree, which is why many companies create internship programs designed with recent grads in mind. You successfully graduated from college so you’ve already proven you’re a great student, and that same degree gives hiring managers confidence that you’ll be a great employee before you even walk through the door.
Rest assured that employers know that no one wants to spend $50,000+ on a degree for nothing, so seek out positions that are designed to put your skills to use. If you go after internships that are made specifically for college grads, you won’t run the risk of working side-by-side with a student who hasn’t even earned enough credits to be considered a sophomore yet. Oftentimes these post-graduate internships are just a company’s way of doing a “trial run” before you’re offered a full-time position, so put in a few months of your time, work hard and you very well may go from intern to full-time employee by August.
Don’t underestimate the power and promise of an internship just because you have a degree. Once your college years come to a close, enjoy this rare opportunity to delve into your career, explore your interests and embark on adventures in new cities. Do not hesitate to take advantage of the post-grad internship.
Image Via Anna Schultz