Once upon a time it was OK to kick back and take it easy in college. You did your four years, you sent out a few resumes, and it was almost a cinch that you would get yourself a nice entry level job. However, welcome to 2011 and the reality is that most of are not getting great jobs upon graduation. A recent study has found that a staggering 85% of grads reported that they will be moving back home with their family after they graduate.
Now, unless you are taking a course that has a built in internship, you should be looking for an internship after your freshman year. And guess what…getting a free internship while you are in college is no longer a gimme. In fact getting one relevant to the career path that you want to follow can be really challenging.
The Good News
The good news is there are still opportunities out there. For those who are serious about what they are want in their career, this is an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the pack. Companies love to hire people who are willing to work and eager to learn.
No Room For Complaining
“Is this fair?” I hear you ask. Only a generation ago, grads could walk off into the sunset with their diploma, fairly certain that they would be employed either before they graduated, or pretty soon after. The world has changed- globalization, people living (and working) longer, automation have all moved the goalposts. And the job market is more competitive than it has ever been. For every post there can be upwards of 400 applicants. It seems unfathomable that the position will go to someone without relevant experience. Companies are looking as much for experience as they are qualifications. And of course it is challenging to get experience if you’ve spent the last 17 years in a classroom.
The bottom line is that you simply cannot wait until your junior year to look for an internship. You have to grab the bull by the horns and get yourself out there. Network. Research. The media is full of stories of grads who are sending out hundreds of applications and not even getting a single interview. Don’t be that guy. Instead get out and hustle. Pound the pavement (or the keyboard) and present yourself as a difference maker- someone who can make a contribution to a company, even during an internship.