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Perhaps you were busy with other responsibilities during undergrad and you didn’t have time for an internship. Or maybe you changed majors part of the way through your college career, and it set you back a little bit. Many students pursue internship positions during college, and assume that once they graduate, they will be done with them. While that is the case most of the time, there is nothing wrong with accepting an internship post-graduation. Here’s why:

The job market can be tough, especially if you’re are seeking employment in a small city where there is lots of competition – namely, your fellow graduates. Full-time positions can be scarce, depending on the economy, your profession and the area in which you live. An internship can help to provide you with some money and additional experience as you search for a salaried role.

Oftentimes, graduates instinctively accept job offers that do not relate to their passions because they have been taught that taking a job is the next step after graduating. While this route results in a paycheck, it will likely not lead to overall satisfaction with the work that you’re doing. Do not get impatient if the right role seems to evade you. If you find yourself with a degree but without a job, you might want to seek out internships that accommodate college graduates in order to gain experience in a field you’re passionate about.

If you’re financially able, it might be easier to get your foot in the door at a company you are interested in by taking on a lower-paid role such as an internship for a short time. In fact, some companies regularly retain their interns and usually do not hire outside of their program. Many large agencies operate in this way. You will only be considered for a salaried role if you have experienced their internship process and learned the agency’s operations from that perspective.

Post-graduation fellowships are also becoming more popular, particularly in media-related fields. Though the exact differences between an internship and a fellowship are often unclear, fellowships are generally paid and can lead directly to employment once the fellowship has ended. Whereas internships are generally part time, many fellowships are full time and expect the employees to treat it like a full-time, salary position. Of course, these types of programs are not as common in other fields, so be sure to do your research before you decide if a fellowship is right for you.

Again, do not get discouraged if you find yourself facing the “real world” without a job secured. Take your time and explore your options. Talk to others in your field, particularly mentors and advisors who have been professionals for a while, and see what opportunities are available in your area. Keep your mind open to roles that look differently than your typical 9-to-5, and you might find a position that is perfect for you.

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