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Don’t Be a Post Grad Internship Hater

August 30, 2011

Vanessa Stella (@VanessaCStella) is a recent marketing graduate from Philadelphia University.

VanessaStella Pic 150x150  Don’t Be a Post Grad Internship HaterBy Vanessa Stella

I headed into my senior year of college with my eyes wide open, determined to find, or at least have some prospects for, a solid post-graduate opportunity for employment. I started my search early in the fall semester by targeting some nearby companies, doing research online, and stopping into my school’s Career Services office to get my resume critiqued and to attend some sessions on interviewing tips and cover letter writing. By the time our first networking event rolled around mid-September, I was ready to get out there and meet some prospective employers.

There was one company’s hiring manager attending that night that I definitely wanted to talk to and I ended up making a great connection with her. She and I talked about the company and the candidates they were looking for, and it all sounded pretty great… until she told me they were only looking for summer interns. I took that news as well as I do a good punch in the gut, but I handed her my resume and we agreed to stay in touch.

…it all sounded pretty great… until she told me they were only looking for summer interns.

Summer interns? What a bummer. I was looking for a permanent, full-time, salaried Marketing position, not another summer internship. Hello, I’m going to be a graduate! But the more I thought about it, a paid summer internship may not be such a bad idea after all. I could still earn some money while gaining great experience, have some new skills to put on my resume and maybe even get hired there full-time. So, I was open to it…

I stayed in touch with the hiring manager but continued to look for other positions over the course of the next few months. When nothing definite came up after some time, I set up a phone interview for the summer internship and was called back shortly after for an in-person interview. Little did I know what a serious interviewing process was in store for me. The process took almost 3 hours and consisted of 2 separate interviews with the hiring manager and a department heads, a Predictive Index personality/behavioral test and a skills test (with math problems! Yikes!). Apparently my math skills were up to par, because a week later, I had an offer in hand for the summer internship, with an additional note saying that the internship would have an “open end date”. Bingo! That meant I had a good chance of being taken on full time after just a few months.

After about 3 months of working hard, sharpening my skills and giving them my best, I found myself in the interview room again, but this time for a permanent position.

In the end, that’s exactly what happened. I accepted the offer for the summer internship and began working there right after graduation. After about 3 months of working hard, sharpening my skills and giving them my best, I found myself in the interview room again, but this time for a permanent position. A few hours after the interview, I had an offer in hand for that permanent, full-time, salaried Marketing position I was so focused on finding in the fall semester. What was initially somewhat of a let-down to still be considered an “intern” post-graduation turned out to be the ideal spot to launch me into a career.

Lesson learned: don’t be a post-grad intern-hater. Take any experiences offered to you as a stepping stone for what may eventually be the start to your career!

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