Daniel’s post yesterday about doing internships after graduation is right on the money.
However, I would encourage everyone to consider an internship even before they’re “stuck” because competition for internships can be fierce in certain industries!Yesterday was the first of many holiday get-togethers that will be happening in my extended family over the next few weeks.
Since I will be the next person in my family to graduate from university, I was bombarded with questions from well-meaning relatives about my career prospects come April.
I told them that although I don’t have anything lined up yet, I’ve been applying for summer reporting internships at newspapers across the country since the beginning of November and deadlines for other internships continue through the end of February so far.
“Internships?” they said. “Shouldn’t you be looking for a real job?”
I don’t blame them for thinking that internships are just what students do while they’re in school to get experience. A lot of students and new grads looking for jobs think that as well. They’re short term, low-paying (or no-pay) positions with no guarantee of staying on with the company once your weeks or months are up, created to give entry-level candidates a chance to see what it’s like to work in the “real world.”
Some entry-level roles require experience beyond what you may have been able to acquire while in university. And, like “real” positions, internship application deadlines can start six months or more before the job term begins. Employers have to look over hundreds or even thousands of cover letters, resumes and portfolios before selecting the right candidate(s).
Timing is everything and knowing when employers are accepting internship applications is key. If you miss the deadline, you’ll have to wait until next year to apply again.
Unlike long-term full-time roles, however, employers may not make a great effort to recruit for their internships. In my experience in the journalism program at Ryerson, big and small employers looking for interns ask the departmental secretary to send e-mails containing information about the internships to students and recent alumni. They may hold informational sessions at the university, but that is fairly rare and usually done by only the largest companies.
For a broader list of internship possibilities, I would suggest CampusAccess.com’s directory of internship programs or Concordia University’s Canadian internships page, but you can probably find lists of program-specific internships at your university’s career centre or even at your department’s office.