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My Turn: Want a job? First, get an internship

Re “Got my college degree, but still no job” (Alyssa Caruana, Monitor Opinion page, Sept. 13):

Many college students have the perception that if they can only finish their degree, employers will be lining up after graduation to hire them. In today’s economy that just isn’t the case. Trying to find a job shouldn’t start the day after your graduation. It should begin with an internship your last year of college.

As a hiring manager, I have led a successful internship program over the past six years. I have hired more than 70 percent of the interns who have participated in our program to full-time positions after their internship was over. Even the ones who were not hired were able to use the experience to find employment elsewhere.

An internship is a win/win for the company and the student. The company gets a low-cost way to recruit new talent and determine if he or she would be a good fit for the organization. The student gains valuable experience while at the same time getting a foot in the door for potential full-time employment.

If you do not actively seek out an internship in your last year of college, you are setting yourself up for unemployment or underemployment after graduation. If you land an internship, here are my three tips on how to leverage it into a career:

1. Report to work five to 10 minutes early every day! If you are late regularly, employers will not hire you.

2. Don’t call in sick unless you are truly sick! Employers want reliable team members, and chronic absenteeism will not get you a job.

3. Be enthusiastic! If you show up to an internship with a “trading time for money” attitude, employers will not hire you.

If you want to avoid spending your next summer sending out hundreds of resumes, start looking for an internship now. If you are selected for an internship, make the most of it. Learn everything the company will teach you, and show your supervisor you are a rock star.

(Adam F. Czarkowski is director of service delivery and support for DSCI Corp., a provider of hosted voice over IP and connectivity services oration. He is also a candidate for the Ward 1 seat on the Concord City Council.)

Legacy Comments10

I think that the larger point is that a college degree is a very expensive piece of paper, that is it in most cases. If you studied a field which is not in demand, if you studied liberal arts, etc. you will struggle. You need experience to get a job. Because you earned a degree in Business Administration does not mean that a company is going to hire you to "run" or "manage" simply don't have any experience. All of the book learning in the world can't substitute for experience and "experiences". It takes time to get those skills in place. In essence, you are competing with others who have no experience. Internships in your last couple of years of college will provide this experience. The author is correct about the last three points but may I add, your appearance counts as well. If you go for an interview with purple hair and tattoos, well that will simply mean that you will have to work harder to get that job that you want or that internship.

Internships are not new, they have been around that I know of, since the late 1970's. The day of the 4 year degree is fast passing into obscurity. An Associates degree and experience trumps a non focused 4 year degree(well one year of drinking and partying and 3 of work). A Nothing new here, move on...........

It depends where the internship is as far as being paid goes. In NYC and a lot of other big cities, they do not have to pay interns because there is so much competition to get those internships. Every student wants to go to NYC and do an internship at MTV, work at Vogue, or work in a sound studio there mixing music. Locally most internships are paid. Not in the hot spots in big cities though where they have an over abundance of students willing to intern for free. That is where the cream of the crop is for the most sought after jobs and internships.

If you intern, you have a huge advantage over your fellow graduates who do not. You are ahead of them because you can actually put on your resume that you interned in your field and thus have some experience. It also shows a future employer that you are serious about your career. The connections and experience you get while interning are incredibly valuable. You get in the field, get noticed and often times get a job offer. I know this as my daughter interned. When you have a major in a field that is hard to get your foot in the door, interning gives you an edge. Then when she graduated she put on her resume that she interned and as a result she was seen as not just a college graduate, but one that actually had some experience. That is very attractive to an employer and also shows that the graduate was serious about their career. They are seen as going the extra mile. So as a result of interning my daughter works in her field in NYC, has all kinds of connections and has had some amazing experiences. Highly recommend interning, without it I do not think my daughter would be where she is today.

How is this different from getting a part time job related to your major? I did work study all through college. It was way more interesting than waitressing.

So this is what it's come to for young people now? "Work for free, kiddies" and *maybe* we'll hire you. Ugh. The writer should be ashamed of himself. A good employer is able to select a viable candidate through the interview process and does not require a period of unpaid indentured servitude. That's simply exploiting the current economic situation.

This comment is right on the money. Say it again -- MONEY ! Servitude is the new normal.

Hi Ducklady, All of DSCI's internships are paid. We even offer our interns accrued vacation and sick time.

You really should have made that clear. I'm not clear why you're not just calling this a temporary job.

Let's all hope the economy can hang on to life support until the current crop of incompetent economic interns in Washington gets relieved of duty including the leader of the entire economic malpractice team, Barack Obama. Maybe then some competent leadership will begin to actually "breathe life into the economic recovery" and restore America's economy to complete health once again.

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