When you are in college, you become an adult whether you like it or not. You don’t have your mom and dad to tell you to stop watching t.v. and start your math homework, nor do you have someone to tell you exactly what classes to take every semester so you can graduate. So you have to figure it out for yourself. One thing they also don’t tell you is how to get a job after college. Sure, they give you a little advice, but is that enough? How can you really be an adult if you don’t know how to succeed after college?
I am one of the fortunate ones to have a major that prepares me for the field I am entering, but many students do not. It might be hard to know what jobs are out there for someone who majors in history or in English. So, what you have to do if you are one of those students? My first piece of advice is to think about all of the skills you are learning as a result of your major. Are you good at working with people? Do you have a critical eye for situations? Are you organized? Can you write well? These are all skills that can help you in certain careers, and they are valuable ones at that. So, once you have thought about your abilities, think about the types of jobs you can get with those skills.
Next, talk to a counselor or someone in your department and ask them what kinds of jobs are available that are related to your major. Chances are they know some place who could use your skills. From that list, you can decide where your strengths will come in most handy.
When you are a freshman, it is best to try and find an internship related to what you want to do later (or what you think you want to do) so you can get some experience. Hit up the expertise of a family friend who works in the field you want to and see what advice they have, and if they know of any places you could intern. This would most likely be free, but it is completely worth it. I have had numerous internships and not been paid for the work I did, but it was still great experience.
When you are a sophomore, you can try looking online for an internship. You can try monster.com, craigslist.com or jobsearch.com, and at least post your resume for potential employers to look at. An internship in town that only requires a few hours a week will probably be ideal, as would a part-time summer internship. You can also talk to Kristi Mackay in the Career Center or Jessica Wade. They are always willing to help and have a full database of local internships.
I have never tried this, but if you are not from Oregon and are having a hard time finding an internship in your hometown, try the local community college, college or university. Chances are there is a professor who can give you some advice. It never hurts to try.
When you are a junior, you should have a full-time internship. This is the ideal situation because you will have something to put on your resumes for when you graduate. You will also gain great recommendations from your supervisors, which are always helpful. If your internship is one where you get clips or examples, keep those. This is especially helpful in journalism internships, creative writing internships, photography internships and graphic designs internships, where clips are an essential part to the application.
When you are a senior, you should have one or two internships or at least a job shadow experience. Linfield offers a few opportunities, such as the Life After Linfield dinner, a job shadow day, and a career fair in Portland, to meet people who work in your field. They can provide valuable and long-lasting relationships you can use later in your career.
Overall, finding an internship can be stressful. But, remember that you are getting a well-rounded liberal arts education and that your skills are extremely marketable. Work hard and don’t let anyone tell you you won’t get a job after graduation. If you work hard enough, you’ll succeed!