Friday, February 17, 2017
Internships can be pipelines to job market
Dear Mr. Bradshaw,
I will be a senior in high school next year and I have several friends who will graduate from college this spring but do not have a job offer. I also know students who graduated from college last year who were only able to find part-time jobs or jobs that pay little more than minimum wage.
I do not want to be trapped in those circumstances and plan to study economics and business in college in hopes of avoiding their fate.
It appears that there is more to getting a good job than just studying hard or your choice of major.
I would like your advice on how to prepare for a career after college graduation.
Signed Concerned student
Dear Concerned Student,
First of all, I applaud your forward thinking about a career path.
The good news is that in the coming year many firms are planning to increase hiring over last year.
The best advice I can give you is to pursue an internship during your college years — the sooner the better. Whether the internship is during the school year, paid or unpaid, the experience will add depth to your resume. Because employers have less time to train new employees, they are looking for new hires with work experience because they have more value.
According to recent studies, between 40 and 45 percent of this year's entry-level hires at top companies — including agricultural, manufacturing and banking entities — will have been former interns. This is an increase over the last five years when only 30 percent of entry-level hires had been interns.
This positive hiring trend is expected to continue with this year's entry-level positions being heavily weighted in favor of former interns.
Companies who compete for the best graduates have found that former interns perform at a higher level than noninterns and they are working to identify potential interns as early as possible. Many will take them on as summer hires after their freshman year in college.
If you want to make sure there is a job waiting after college, you need to plan ahead. I would begin searching for a summer internship program as early as your freshman year.
A client told me that his granddaughter graduated from Purdue University and snagged a $50,000 plus job at Con-Agra in Omaha, Neb., where she had worked as an intern last summer. The previous summer she had worked as an intern for Kraft Foods.
I have a former client who is now finishing his freshman year at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He says he has found that internships are readily available, with the government, consulting organizations and "think tanks" hiring at record levels.
One reason I continue to recommend George Washington (GW) as a college choice is because of its location in the nation's capital. The unemployment rate for GW graduates is low because of the number of opportunities available to gain real world work experience while a student.
College years are a time to learn and gain valuable insights into the kind a career that is suitable for your talents. As you look for a college home you should take into consideration the location of the school and ask about internship possibilities when you visit.
The internet is also good place to search for summer internship leads. The job networking you do while still an undergraduate will serve you well when you graduate. Remember that experience pays off.
Gerald Bradshaw is an international college admission consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting in Crown Point.
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