Juggling internship and job decisions

Lots of college seniors are looking forward to December graduation. But many of them face a dilemma—should they be sending out their resumes for internships or for jobs or for both simultaneously? If they have internships, should they continue them if possible? The PoynterOnline column, Ask the Recruiter, recently discussed the pros and cons. Here are 4 tips to help you juggle internship and job decisions:

1. Keep in mind career success and professional reputation. It’s tempting to cover all your bases by sending out resumes to the places where you want to work to advance your career but with the added insurance of also applying for internships in desirable companies just in case the jobs don’t come through in this weak economy. But be careful not to damage your professional reputation by accepting an internship and then dropping it if you get a job offer in another firm. And you may not want to spin your wheels working in a company outside of your area of interest, which would be irrelevant to your career success.

2. Decide which is the more promising avenue and go for it. If you know what job you want and with what firm, concentrate on getting that position. However, if your only opportunities are in fields not related to your career goals or in geographical locations that do not interest you, go the internship route. Apply for internships in your target company or at least in the city that you’ve selected as your new home base. Then, you can plan to transition the internship into the job that you really want. At least you’ll be in a company that could be a viable part of your career future.

3. Be selective. You may be in an unpaid internship now and want to turn it into a job, but the company says there are no openings at this time. Do you take a fulltime job in another company that doesn’t interest you, but offers you a paid position? Consider what will make you more qualified in your field. It’s better to stay in a great internship and take a part-time job to support yourself while you wait for the right job opening in the company. You may miss some other fulltime job offers, but you’ll be increasing your skills. And remember that employers value your experience. Statistics prove that an internship is the surest way to get hired.

4. Maintain connection with your internship personnel. If the company cannot continue your internship, don’t give up and or take it personally. Company policy may limit the length of internships and other interns may already be signed up. But do keep in touch with your supervisors at your past internships because you never know when an opening will occur. Check in several times a year through email, phone calls, or holiday greetings. Make sure that the internship supervisors remember you and will be interested in talking to a former intern or giving a reference when a job opens up.

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