Today I’m featuring a guest post by internship & career success blogger Sharise Kent. Sharise spent 5 years managing a national internship program where she placed over 400 interns with some of the biggest media companies in the world. Her blog helps college students understand the value of internships and the importance of designing a career during the early years of college. Her book, The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams is available here.
I invited Sharise to speak to my followers today because her advice is invaluable for parents who want their kids to get actual jobs after college.
Many parents are dismayed when they find out that colleges don’t actually teach students how to get jobs.
Students who don’t realize this early can find themselves with knots in their stomachs during senior year when their parents cheerfully ask, “How’s the job search going?”
These well-meaning parents likely have no idea—their soon-to-be college graduate doesn’t even know where to start looking.
What can students do?
(Parents, you’ll want to start planting these great strategies into your kids’ heads as early as middle school.)
1. Take a career awareness class during your freshman year in college, or as soon as possible after that.
Ideally this course will use self-assessment tools that will point you toward best fit careers while providing info on job shadowing, using LinkedIn, finding an internship, the job search process, writing resumes, and interviewing. These courses tend to be about 1 or 2 credit hours and are not super challenging. Take this course as soon as you can fit it in, and watch it save you both time and money. Why? Because focused career goal early on means you won’t be paying $5,000 a pop for college classes you won’t ever actually need.
Jeannie Burlowski recommends that kids do this career clarification work in 10th grade so they can pick colleges well, but for students who missed that boat, freshman year of college is better than nothing.
2. Don’t waste your breaks.
Plan ahead. Take charge of your own career development. Volunteer, take a non-academic course online that can teach you a new skill, read books, job shadow, and do informational interviews—all in the specific area of career focus you discovered while taking the class mentioned above.
I’m not saying that you have to be all work, all the time, but I am saying—don’t waste your time.
(And remember, the best summer internships are found in the winter.)
3. Keep good records on everything you’re doing.
This way, when it finally comes time to create a resume, you won’t forget a single thing you’ve done.
4. Use the career services office on your college campus, and use it early on.
In the best case scenario, your first visit to your college’s career services office should happen early in your freshman year of college, or as soon as possible after that. On your first visit, start by asking this question: “What resources do you have here that’ll help me find a paid internship during college, and paid jobs after my college graduation?”
5. Intern early; intern often.
In my opinion, every college student absolutely must complete at least one internship before college graduation.
I don’t care if your major doesn’t require it, I am telling you, do an internship.
(Jeannie Burlowski writes very convincingly about the importance of college internships, here.)
I’ve placed over 400 interns with major companies across the country, many of whom went on to be hired. It is actually in your best interest to do multiple internships. I did eight internships in college, so I know it can be done.
Remember, when you graduate, you’ll be competing against thousands of other recent grads who also received good grades from good colleges. You’ll need to separate yourself from the pack. An internship will give you the hands-on experience that can be the difference-maker for you when it comes to getting noticed and getting hired.
Finding an internship doesn’t have to be daunting or overwhelming. Download my free Internship Manual Toolkit, and I’ll give you step-by-step help getting your internship search underway.
What about you? What strategies have you found for getting a job in the real world right out of college? Comment below or LIKE Jeannie Burlowski Author on Facebook, find this post on that page, and let’s talk about it there.
For additional help setting kids up to get actual jobs after college, get your copy of:
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Who is Sharise Kent?
Sharise is an internship and career success blogger. Her book, The Internship Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting the Internship of Your Dreams is available on Amazon. You can follow Sharise on Twitter @SKentCoach.
Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full time author, academic strategist, and speaker. Her writing and speaking help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. You can follow Jeannie on Twitter @JBurlowski.