With graduation looming, you’re relishing the fact that the days of cramming for tests are behind you and you’re starting to look forward to your next step. You’ll walk across the stage donning your cap and gown and take your first steps into the real world. For many of us, this is both an exciting and daunting time. We’re ready to dive into our careers, but the sheer number of opportunities and different career paths can seem overwhelming.
That often means juggling decisions like whether to start with a full-time job in a related field, take a gap year, or try out an internship after graduation. While each of these avenues has benefits and drawbacks, it’s worth taking a closer look at post-grad internships.
Here, we’ll show you the benefits of internships after graduation. You’ll discover how an internship after college can help build skills, experience, and networks that you can leverage to find a full-time position doing what you love.
The Top Benefits of Internships After Graduation
Many of us know how important internships are during high school, college, and graduate school, but we often overlook the value of a post-grad internship. As a recent graduate, you have fresh knowledge and skills that can be enhanced by diving right into a relevant internship. While taking a year off can help you discover what you want to pursue, landing an internship after graduation can help you rapidly develop skills while also enabling you to find which career track to take.
Essentially, post-graduate internships offer the best of both worlds. They allow you to explore different opportunities in related fields while also allowing you to work on real-life projects just like you would at an entry-level job. Here are some of the main benefits of internships after graduation.
One of the most valuable aspects of an internship is that it’s an opportunity to grow and learn rapidly. Most high-quality internship programs immerse interns in real-world projects providing career development opportunities you can’t get anywhere else. You’ll get to use your skills and knowledge to create a direct impact on the company’s goals. In addition, most interns are paired with a mentor who can offer valuable career advice and tips on how to learn and grow within the organization.
Bulks Up Your Resume
Many recent college graduates struggle with the age-old dilemma of wanting a great job right out of college, but not having the necessary experience. What if we told you one of the easiest ways to build this job experience and start a career is to get an internship after graduation? In fact, getting an internship can be an important first step to landing a more permanent role at one of your favorite companies.
That’s because internships provide work experience that you can include on your resume and in your cover letter. Internships show that you’re interested in developing new skills and dedicated to your own personal growth. All of this can be included when you apply for a permanent job either at the company you’re interning for or at a competitor in the industry.
Helps Build Networks
While LinkedIn is a vital resource for building connections, internship programs offer unparalleled access to mentors and professional networks. That means you can make connections and stand out from the crowd, placing you at the forefront when it’s time to find a permanent role. If you make a great impression with the recruiter for your internship position, they may be willing to help you find other opportunities when you’re ready to move forward with your career.
In addition, recent college students can work closely and network with other professionals in the field. That means you’ll be able to get first-hand advice from other employees on what steps to take to receive a certain job offer or how to navigate various application processes. Whether your internship is in a big city like Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, or somewhere outside the United States, creating these connections is essential to furthering your career.
Many companies will also help connect job seekers to open employment opportunities and tend to hire from within. That means if you make a great impression during your internship, you‘re more likely to get a job offer when the program finishes.
How To Turn an Internship Into a Full-Time Position
One of the main benefits of paid internships and unpaid internships is that many of them have the potential to turn into full-time jobs. Whether you’re finishing up an internship after grad school or following the completion of your bachelor’s degree, there are several things you can do to maximize your chance of getting a full-time gig at the end of your internship.
Here are some ways you can leverage your internship experience — whether it’s for a nonprofit working on mental health awareness or a social media marketing internship after completion of your graduate program.
Do the Work
Many post-grad internships are part-time. That means you need to maximize your time outside the office to truly make an impact on your colleagues. Do your homework outside of the office. Read up on industry news, follow the latest trends, and stay on top of any changes that may affect the company or the field you’re working in. All of this information helps you build more knowledge, but it also shows hirer-ups that you are dedicated to the position and your career.
In the initial stages of your internship, it’ll feel a lot like a training program. Your mentor will likely spend the majority of the day showing you the ropes and the learning curve may be steep.
Once you have a grasp of the role and start settling in, it’s time to take ownership and accountability. Use your skills and confidence to make decisions and recommend solutions. Own your tasks and don’t be afraid to delegate other tasks to team members in a constructive manner. This shows your initiative and also demonstrates your ability to own mistakes and successes — two key components of any good employee.
You get out of an internship as much as you put in. If you show up to work expecting to follow someone else around while they show you how to do everything, you won’t walk away with a strong profile that recruiters are looking for. Dive into the role and leverage every opportunity to learn and grow.
If you find some downtime in your role, ask if you can job shadow a team from a similar department. This provides a different look at the company and also enables you to learn new skills you might not normally have encountered. Plus, your contribution and dedication to the company won’t go unnoticed.
Ask for What You Want
For many current students and recent grads, low confidence or indecision can prevent them from reaching their goals. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If you’ve loved your internship role and want to stay on full-time, make that clear. You can do this by speaking to your mentor and internship manager as well as by showing how much you care about your work.
At the end of the day, you won’t get something you don’t ask for. In the last few weeks of your internship, schedule a meeting, or write a thoughtful email to your manager. Just like how you ask for an internship, ask the manager what the company’s position is on your future employment. Be humble and clear, making sure to point out how you’ve contributed to the company and how you expect your growth to further advance the company’s goals.
Find the Perfect Internship With Scholars
Want to learn more about internship opportunities and how you can leverage them to build the career of your dreams? Scholars can help. Sign up to create a portfolio and get access to recruiters from top companies that offer internships in your desired industry. You can also join our community to get early access to new job opportunities from your dream employers. From digital marketing and public relations to finance and gaming, there’s something for everyone.
Check out our blog for more information on how to develop your skills and create a resume that will wow recruiters. Our podcast also offers insider tips from recruiters at top companies so you’ll know what to expect from different internships and what you can do to stand out from the crowd.