Conventional wisdom suggests that one of the best ways for college graduates to get a job in their chosen field is to have participated in an internship within a company.
Soergel (2015) noted that a 2014 report conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed that among those in the class of 2014, who received a job offer prior to graduation, less than two-fifths (38.6) percent did not have any internships.
Although there is a greater demand today for internships, they have become more difficult to obtain, as well as there is a shortage of internships available. In the face of global competition for the best jobs and shortage of internships, how can college graduates position themselves to receive the necessary training to ensure a position within their field?
The short answer is that college graduates have to think differently about how to maneuver within a changing landscape. When internships and jobs become scarce, graduates have to become more creative by developing their own career opportunities.
The best way graduates can show prospective employers that they have the necessary skills to succeed is by building their own body of work.
First, determine the pain points that currently exist within a given profession. Every profession and industry has some problems that need to be solved. By reading periodicals and leading industry magazines, students can become aware of the challenges within a profession and begin documenting possible solutions. This serves as a conduit for establishing intellectual property that creates an advantage against competition for limited internship opportunities, as well as scarce job openings.
Second, use different formats to document solutions. Articles, books, podcasts, and videos are excellent ways of establishing a track record. In fact, what better way to connect with decision-makers than to interview them for independent research and forward the findings to them for consideration? By acting like leaders within an industry independently, students are demonstrating that they are “movers and shakers” who don’t wait around for opportunities, they actually create them.
Finally, use social media platforms to publish works, particularly in industry-related LinkedIn groups. Social media allows students to broadcast industry solutions directly to the individuals most affected. The beauty of social media is that students only need one influencer to recognize the value of their offerings to gain traction.
In a changing world, students can lament about how their future isn’t as bright as past generations, or they can make their future brighter by creating their own sunlight.
Edward S. Brown, M.S.
Berger, J. (2011, Nov. 7). Intern gap frustrates clinicians in training. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/health/views/internship-shortage-frustrates-psychology-students.html.
Soergel, A. (2015, May 15). Paid interns more likely to get hired. U.S. News & World Report: Retrieved from: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/05/05/study-suggests-college-graduates-benefit-more-from-paid-internships.