I ended up getting the chance to sit down and speak with a professional contact, whom I met while working on a research project for graduate school, on her online podcast, “Operation Community Stimulus.” The show takes the time to interview community nonprofits and business owners who give advice to college students and young working professionals, and regularly airs live from 5:30pm to 6:00pm on Fridays.
The show gave me another chance to give one of the most important pieces of advice I tend to give students hoping to enter the job force for the first time. I speak with individuals all the time who wonder how young professionals, such as myself, enter into the job force with “entry-level” job requirements that ask for years of experience. They scratch their heads and wonder how it’s even possible to somehow have experienced before not really having any experience, to which I always reply—internships.
I started off right away, after switching my major as an undergrad from architecture to English and journalism, interning during the summer. Long hours were put into my first internship as an editorial assistant with an online magazine making sure that I was able to determine whether this was the right path for me. It was then after I finished my internship and received the first part-time job offer that I realized that these internships were the door that opened me to obtaining the elusive experience I would need before taking an “entry-level” job.
I decided to share this knowledge with my readers and wrote an article online about the reasoning of why I went out of my way to add internships into my already hectic schedule, “Are Internships Worth the Trouble?”
My advice to college students mentioned that industry professionals like hiring people they feel comfortable with. They intend to hire young professionals of whom they have already gotten to know. Paid internships or internships required for college credit becomes an opportunity for hiring employers to feel out their intended pool of potential employees, and a way to determine how they would fit in their office’s work culture.
It’s definitely a win-win for those who can play the game. Not only do college students get hands-on training in the field they intend to enter into, but they also receive opportunities to network, and gather the experience that they need for those positions that require experience without “experience.”
To hear more about my advice for young professionals, you can listen to the interview I did with “Operation Community Stimulus” below, and you can tune into KUCI 88.9FM talk radio.