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Entry by Valerie Petrey, Public Relations & Event Planning Intern, Purdue Liberal Arts Career Development

For those of you job searching with me, this blog is for you!

Regardless of the economy it can be difficult to find a job. It’s different now because companies have more to lose if their recent hire can’t handle the job responsibilities. Let’s say Company X hired “Mary” on as their copywriter. It appeared that “Mary” knew how to write and could work under pressure but when she was assigned to produce a brochure for Company X, her writing skills were less than immaculate and she crumbled under time limits. 

Company X’s time and money was wasted, and they were forced to let her go and search for a new copywriter. Unfortunately things like this happen in the workforce, which may lead an employer to assume all new grads are like this. This is why so many new grads MUST do an internship, or something similar, with the company to be considered for a full-time position.

This can be frustrating to those of you who have done multiple internships already, held leadership roles in student organizations and/or have a remarkable academic record. The question is how can you prove to companies that you’re worth hiring full-time? Complete an internship for them. Volunteer for them. Set up informational interviews. Find a mutual connection that can vouch for you. 

Interning after graduation is not a bad thing. Fellow blog author Brittney Horn is doing it right now! Look at it as a positive; it’s a chance to make new connections, experience different areas of your field, polish your skills and can lead to an offer if you produce great work.

You might say, “I can’t afford to do an internship after graduation because of living costs and student loans,” but I have some suggestions for you. Look at internships where you live, so you can live at home (sounds exciting, right?), or look only at internship programs that offer housing or a housing stipend for their interns (typically large corporations and full-time internship positions do this). The Indianapolis Indians have a program like the one I’m describing.

As for student loans, remember, you have a six-month grace period before you must begin making payments. Don’t forget that some student loans can be forgiven if you are going into a public service field such as teaching or the military. For a full list of qualifiers, go here. Internships typically last 12-16 weeks, so you have time to job search while you’re interning. You could also find a part-time job at a restaurant or retail store to make a little cash to help with living and transportation costs.

If you’re a senior or new grad and aren’t having much luck with your job search, don’t be afraid to apply for internships too!

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