A mom reached out that her daughter, Emma, is in a tailspin. She’s a junior at a competitive university and she is convinced that “everyone” has an amazing internship set up for the summer, and she has to get one in order to position herself for a job after graduation.
And she is taking on a full course load this semester so she has no idea how she will even make time to start the search.
The mom asks “Can you help her? What if she doesn’t get an internship?”
Deep breaths everyone.
The obsession over the Junior summer has reached new heights.
Would it be helpful to have an internship? Sure
Is it a requirement to land a job after graduation? Not necessarily
We have learned that companies like to see real-world or practical experience from a candidate. It shows that the grad has learned how to manage in the workplace, deal with unexpected challenges or handle mundane responsibilities.
However, the definition of an internship or “real world” experience has evolved.
Also, it is not always feasible or realistic for students to get internships due to financial constraints, academic priorities, or time. And we are still in a pandemic… so that does not help.
So, what can a student do when they do not have the time or ability to get a summer internship?
- Get involved. This can be in a club, volunteering, or a research project. Employers are more interested in what you know and how you applied it.
- Micro-Internships. This is a new way for employers to access college students in the workplace. Companies have a backload of work that they need help with that may require little training i.e., creating social media content, financial analysis, lead generation, market research. And these work experiences could happen any time, not just in the summer if your student/grad has extra capacity. Learn how students can get micro-internships.
- Part-time jobs. Delivering pizza or scooping ice cream may not be a formal internship in a workplace. But maybe your student had to deal with difficult customers or manage cash flow. Help them realize that these experiences are valuable in the real world.
- Make connections. The more students and grads can network with recent alumni or those that have the job they want, they will have a better understanding of what skills are needed to be successful in the workplace. More importantly, these connections can lead to internships and job opportunities.
According to a recent study, only 22% of students got an internship during the pandemic. So, your student is not alone.
Focus on classwork, campus experiences, and learning new skills where possible.
And for my friend, her daughter started networking with fellow alumni and they are interested in speaking with her further. She may just get the internship after all.