Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Pursue college internship
BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
Dear Mr. Bradshaw:
I will be a senior in high school and have several friends who will graduate from college this spring but donít have a job offer. I also know students who graduated from college last year and the only jobs they could find are part-time and pay little more than minimum wage.
I donít want to fall into that trap and plan to study economics and business in college in hopes of avoiding their fate.
But it seems there is more to getting a good job than just studying hard or what you major in. Can you give me some advice on how to find a good job after graduation?
--Signed: Concerned student
Dear Concerned Student:
The good news is that many firms are planning to increase hiring by 20 percent over last year.
The best advice I can give you is to pursue an internship during your college years ó the sooner the better. Whether the internship is during the school year, paid or unpaid, the experience will add depth to your resume.
You may even change your mind about your career choice. Because employers have less time to train new employees they look for new hires with experience because they have more value.
According to recent studies reported in the Wall Street Journal, between 40 percent and 45 percent of this yearís entry level hires at top companies ó including agriculture, manufacturing, and banking ó 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.
The positive hiring trend is expected to continue with this yearís entry-level positions being heavily weighted in favor of former interns.
Consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers hired about 4,600 students last year for full-time positions and 2,000 of them were interns. Companies who compete for the best graduates have found that former interns perform better than non-interns 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 had just 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 easily available, with government, consulting and think-tanks hiring at record levels.
One reason I recommended GW as a college choice is because of its location in the nationís capitol. The unemployment rate for GW graduates is low because of the number of opportunities available to gain real world work experience while a student.
It is 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.