Graduate, then get the job that pays $100K. That’s the plan. But life rarely goes as planned. You might not get that high-paying job; you might not get a job at all. Say hello to the post-grad internship. It’s really not that bad. Yeah, you might have to live with your parents for another year, but who hates home-cooked meals and free laundry? Post-grad internships can really boost your chances of landing your dream job. Take a look at a few reasons to put down the wanted ads and spend another few months delivering coffee.
You’re stuck in a dead end job search
Giving a post-grad internship a chance doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams. “For some new graduates, ditching their job search to look for internships would be like getting rid of their new car because it won’t start, only they haven’t consulted a professional mechanic who could have told them that they just needed to replace the battery,” said Peter Hunt, assistant director of the Boston College Career Center.
Don’t give up just because the going got tough; be reasonable. Sometimes you just need a little more experience before you can land that job with the New York Times. Hunt said that if you’ve been consistently interviewing for jobs and don’t hear back, consider applying for both entry-level jobs and paid internships and see what pans out. There’s no harm in applying.
You changed your mind
Sometimes you pick a major and realize after graduation that you’re not interested in that field. Now you’re stuck with an economics degree, but want to claw your way into the fashion industry. You might have all the skills for your desired position (who doesn’t love fashion magazines?), but your resume doesn’t reflect that—you didn’t take history of fashion and visual merchandising or land the Bloomingdale’s internship the summer after junior year.
As a result, companies might not even consider you for the job. Hunt said fields like fashion, publishing, advertising and public relations can be challenging to break into without an internship. Instead of wasting your time waitressing and never breaking into the field, take an internship that’ll boost your experience and resume.
You can find a job easier when you have a job internship
Rather than applying for jobs while unemployed, having an internship while searching will give you something to talk about during interviews. “It makes you seem industrious. It shows that you’re useful to someone,” said Christina Quinn, a 2013 Boston College graduate and post-grad intern alumni. It shows employers that you’re ambitious and using your time wisely even when you’re not on a payroll. Find out if a company or field is right for you before getting locked into a salary position. Quinn said she was able to test out office culture without the pressure of a long-term contract.
You ride the corporate ladder from intern to associate
An internship can often turn into an offer for a full-time job. Peter Merterns, a 2012 Boston College graduate, applied to full-time jobs and internships after graduation. Mertens received an offer for a post-grad public relations internship before he was contacted with any job offers. He decided to play it safe and accepted the internship to ensure he’d have something to do after he took a cap and gown. “The world isn’t going to end if you don’t have a full-time job when you’ve graduated,” he said.
Both Mertens and Quinn were offered full-time positions by their companies after their internships, but this isn’t always the case. Many companies hire on an “as needed” basis; you aren’t guaranteed an offer, whether or not you rock the position. “But if you perform well, then you’ll likely be at the top of [companies’] lists when an opening does come available,” Hunt said. “And if no job is on the horizon, most managers will put in a good word for you with other organizations within their industry.”
Though you might always be a little jealous of your roommate’s job offers, some graduates just need a little more time to reach the job market finish line. Post-grad internships can be really beneficial and make you more marketable, so don’t rule them out completely. It might just help you land that job that does pay $100K. After all, life is a marathon, not a race.