About the Author: Anna Beyder is a young professional with almost two years of real world experience under her belt. After a year of working at a medical billing job that she detested, she ditched her cubicle and began writing a blog about her search for the perfect career. Like most women dream of finding a perfect man, she dreamt of finding that perfect career. After months of interviews, research, and self-reflection, Anna began pursuing a future in public relations. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn and Twitter.
The economy has had a few effects on the job market. Depending on your field and experience level, there is a good chance you may have observed some of these effects. But as a recent college graduate who has looked for employment through almost every channel, I have noticed one trend that directly affects my job hunt. The disproportionate amount of entry and junior level positions, compared to mid and senior level positions.
The competition for these available positions is already fierce, but if you are in a high demand liberal arts field such as marketing for example, it seems you have to work even harder to find your way in. This means trying every route to find those few, coveted entry-level positions at companies and firms that offer career growth. This includes applying to internship and training programs, even if you are already a graduate.
If you are still in college, it is absolutely invaluable to obtain a solid internship at a reputable company. I would even venture as far as to say that it is more important that grades, especially in communication based job sectors. If you are graduating with a degree in English, Sociology, Communications or any other liberal arts major and you anticipate a job hunt after college, prepare yourself with an internship. Many of these professions involve specific, on-the-job training, and while classes prepare you for some things, they don’t prepare you for everything. Employers are looking for a well-rounded candidate, complete with education and work experience, particularly internships in the field.
Many graduates are turned off by the idea of applying for an internship, because of the title, “intern.” It is understandable, that label typically applies to college students not those already in the job market. However, many internship programs are much more like training programs. Companies, like Google, offer competitive pay and even an opportunity for employment upon successful program completion. There are very few companies that are willing to offer a permanent position to someone without experience, however there are many more that will pay a trainee who has the potential to grow into a full-time employee. The application process is the same as the full-time application process and requires work, including essays, letters of recommendation and writing samples. However, this seperates the committed job seeker from an individual blindly applying to everything they come across. Global firms, offer internships all over the world and some even help find housing to those accepted to the program. These programs are typically offered a few times a year, with the most competitive application period being summer. Some accredited programs include the NBC Page Program for entertainment and the Ruder Finn training program for public relations.
Paid internship programs are competitive so it is in your best interest to apply to as many as possible. They also may take as long as a few months to reach a decision, so while you wait it couldn’t hurt to pick up an unpaid internship. Even if you are a graduate it is possible to pick up a work study class at a local college and become eligible for an internship. Unpaid internships are typically part-time and leave space in your schedule for a paid position elsewhere. The important thing is building up experience in your career of choice. Whether through an unpaid or paid internship, with determination, it is possible to find a way into wherever you want to be.
What do you think? How has a post-grad internship helped your career search?