Congratulations, you are officially a college graduate! Now, it’s time to start your job search.
The first question you need to answer is, “What type of position do I apply for?” The two most popular options are internships and entry-level positions.
When you make your decisions, it is important to decide which works best for you. Here are some pros and cons of internships and entry-level positions that can help you decide.
“An internship is a job training for white collar and professional careers. Interns may be high school students, college and university students, or post-graduate adults. These positions may be paid or unpaid and are usually temporary.” (Wikipedia)
Strengthens your cover letter
If you don’t have any experience in your goal industry, you may struggle to find a full-time position. Internships give the proper experience to build skills and accomplishments in months. Even some entry-level jobs require you to have a certain amount of experience.
Gives insight towards future
An internship can show you exactly what you may be looking for in a career. Every company is different, but if you’re in a profession that has many different career paths, an internship will help narrow in on what you find most appealing.
Builds your network
Based on personal experience, my internships have helped me build relationships with people that I will be able to contact at a later date. You always want to start networking early because your connections can provide recommendations and connect you with other contacts in the industry.
Prepares you for the working world
Graduate specific internships are designed to help graduates get more hands-on experience and responsibility. In these internships, graduates are given more trust and more opportunities to use their expertise than a typical internship. In some cases, they can lead to an entry-level position.
Internships often have lower pay and fewer hours than entry-level jobs. Make sure to discuss the benefits and training that you will gain before accepting a position.
No guarantee of full-time work
Internships are not guaranteed to change to a permanent position when completed. Many times, the internships are used to fill a current need, and the employer will hire someone else for a new need at the completion of your term. Companies do not have the obligation to hire interns.
“An entry-level job is the first job that a new trainee or graduate takes upon completion of a training or degree program. Entry level in this sense refers to the entry point into a specific chosen profession. An entry-level job may or may not require (or at least prefer) some level of work experience.” (College Grad)
Opportunities for advancement and experience
Even though an entry-level job may not be your dream job, it can provide you with the experience you need to advance in your industry. The experience you gain will help push you closer to the position you a truly interested in. In the meantime, you’ll be able to grow within your company and learn new skills
While an internship could leave you looking for a new position in a few months, an entry-level job comes with a greater sense of security. Ideally, the position will be full-time and include benefits, but even a part-time position will provide a more predictable paycheck.
As an employee, you will be trusted with more tasks and projects than an intern. This will give you even more of an opportunity to grow. Because of this, your coworkers will also get to know more about your abilities which is helpful if you need a reference down the road.
Given entry-level positions do not require a lot of experience, a broad group of job seekers will be applying. It is important to provide a resume and cover letter that will make the recruiter keep their eyes on you. You need to stand out to get a job that has a lot of applicants.
If you’re not sure what industry you want to work in or if you want to try out a few different jobs before starting your career, an entry-level job might not be for you. Internships can last a few weeks to a few months, so it’s easy to try out a few industries or types of employers to find what you like best. If you leave a few entry-level jobs after a few months, future employers may see you as unreliable.
Entry level positions and internships are both great building blocks to that dream job you’re hoping for. It is important to take advantage of these opportunities if you can. Depending on your work experience and your career goals, you’ll have to decide if you want to pursue one or the other or look into both opportunities.