It’s a common misconception that internships are only available to students, but graduates can also apply for internships. Even after graduation it can be difficult to find a job, or maybe graduates aren’t sure exactly what type of work they’d like to do.
In either situation, getting an internship could help in narrowing down the type of work you want to do, gaining experience to add to your resume, and building up that postgrad network.
Benefits of a Postgraduate Internship
There are a lot of reasons why graduates might consider doing a post grad internship. Aiming to go right into a full-time job after graduating may be the right choice for some people, but there are some benefits to completing an internship first.
Doing a post graduation internship can allow graduates to explore their career options before making a long-term commitment.
Not every student is going to have an exact goal in mind for what job they’d like to have after graduating, and most degrees will give students more than one option to consider. Starting with an internship can give graduates the ability to test out a variety of jobs and also encourage them to live in different locations.
Another benefit to applying for internships instead of full-time jobs is that it may limit some of the stress of getting through the final semester.
Applying to full-time jobs could feel like a big commitment for graduates who are coping with the end of their college experience. It may feel like too big of a leap, and that’s okay!
Internships can make for a great in-between, stepping stone for graduates to use to get their feet wet and hopefully experience less stress during their final semester of college.
Internships also provide graduates with valuable hands-on experience and potentially a connection to their first full-time job. Getting a degree is important, but it isn’t the same as having previous experience in the field.
Doing a post grad internship can help recent graduates bulk up their skills and fill out their resume. Some internships will even transition into full-time jobs with the same company. For employers, it can be easier to hire someone they’ve already seen in action.
Lastly, getting an internship can also help recent graduates build up their network outside of college. Networking in college is important too, but developing relationships within the field of interest can benefit students when they start their job search after completing their internship.
So, What are Internships Like?
The first question most people are going to have when it comes to internships is, is it paid?
The answer to this question will vary by internship and by industry. For example, internships in banking, accounting, and government are often paid.
The determination for whether or not an internship will be paid is how much the student is benefitting from the experience vs. the company.
An unpaid internship is usually more learning based and it’s expected that the student will be gaining more from the internship than the company does.
Because internships are usually short-term commitments, most of them won’t provide the same benefits that full-time employees have. There may be other perks though, such as social events, vacation days, or covering the cost of relocation or housing.
How to Get an Internship
The work isn’t over post graduation, getting an internship will require some effort. One place to start is networking with professors, alumni, and utilizing the school’s career center.
Graduates can use platforms like LinkedIn or their school’s alumni database to find people in their chosen career fields to reach out to. Grads should get comfortable communicating with these people and being clear about what types of internships they’re looking for. These conversations can help open doors that otherwise may have been hard to find.
It’s also key to have a resume and cover letter ready to go. These may have to be tweaked for each internship, but if graduates are searching for internships in a specific field then they might be able to get away with making minimal changes.
Grads should get creative when listing their skills and experiences on their resume, even if they haven’t had a full-time job yet, they’ve probably picked up valuable skills at part-time jobs and in college.
Preparing for interviews will also help recent graduates snag an internship. It’s vital to do research on the company before the interview. Review things like the company’s mission, what their current projects are, and what the company culture is like. Having knowledge of the company can highlight the applicants excitement during the interview.
Preparation for interviews also includes studying common internship interview questions and prepping for those. The interview will be less nerve-racking when graduates know what to expect. It’s also helpful to prepare their own set of questions to ask the interviewer. This shows an interest in the company and commitment to learning more.
Repaying Your Student Loans
In addition to job (or internship) hunting, graduates will also have to face the reality of paying back their student loans. The exact timing for when repayments start will vary by the type of loan. Graduates should keep this in mind when applying for internships and full-time jobs.
For federal loans, there are a couple of different times that repayment may begin. Students who borrowed a Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, or Federal Family Education Loan, have a six month grace period after graduation before they’re required to make payments.
When it comes to the PLUS loan, it depends on the type of student that’s taken one out. Undergraduates will be required to start repayment as soon as the loan is paid out. Graduate and professional students with PLUS loans will be on automatic deferment while they’re in school and up to six months after graduating.
With the repayment period coming up, graduates may consider refinancing their student loans. What does that mean? Well, refinancing student loans is when a lender pays off the existing loan with another loan that has a lower interest rate. Refinancing can potentially save graduates money, but this depends on a lot of factors.
Both federal and private student loans can be refinanced, but when federal student loans are refinanced by a private lender, they’ll lose their federal benefits like the grace period or loan forgiveness. Graduates will want to consider this before deciding to refinance any federal loans.
Refinancing student loans could help qualifying borrowers reduce their interest rate, saving them money over the life of the loan.
Post grad internships can help students build their resume, expand their networks, and gain valuable job experience. Depending on factors like the company and industry, post graduate internships may or may not be paid. Students still exploring their career options may find value in pursuing a postgraduate internship.
After graduation, students will likely begin repayment on their student loans. Some students may consider refinancing.
The decision to refinance student loans is just one potentially money-saving tip that recent graduates can explore as they find their footing financially. And if the time isn’t right to refinance during a post grad internship, it may be an option students consider once that internship (hopefully) leads to a full-time job.
Student Loan Refinancing
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If you are a federal student loan borrower you should take time now to prepare for your payments to restart, including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. (You may pay more interest over the life of the loan if you refinance with an extended term.) Please note that once you refinance federal student loans, you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans, such as the SAVE Plan, or extended repayment plans.
Student Loan Refinancing