Post Graduate Internship: Is it Right for You?

Congratulations! You have just graduated from college and are ready to work full time. Just a few years ago, it was easier to enter the workforce as a full time employee right after graduation. Today, there are fewer positions available and some companies use a post graduate internship as a testing period before a full time offer is extended.

Post Graduate Internship: Is it Right for You?


Post graduate internships are becoming more standard, but Career Services professionals advise students to be highly selective. Trudy Steinfeld from NYU advises “In most cases we would not endorse a post graduate internship, unless it is paid and really considered as a temporary assignment or a special situation such as becoming a White House Intern for a year. A post graduate internship should clearly lead to other opportunities that you would not have access to unless you had this experience.”

The advice may vary slightly from different colleges and universities. Most college Career Services offices now recognize that internships are being used by employers as a trial period, but they are trying to carefully advise new graduates. No one wants to prolong a job search unnecessarily, especially for a new graduate that wants to obtain their first full time position. On the other hand, post graduate internships are being navigated successfully by many new grads.

Taryn Roussel graduated in May 2012 from Roger Williams University and did not have an immediate job offer in hand. However, she came up with a plan to work at an internship while continuing her active job search during the summer after graduation. She landed a valuable three day internship and was interviewing on the other two days. Taryn also was very wise to learn new skills during this post-grad internship. She learned to use some new MAC designer programs which allowed her to highlight a wider range of technical capabilities. Taryn’s strategy paid off with a full time job offer in August after her graduation.

Look for these characteristics of a post graduate internship:

  • Direct correlation with your major and / or intended career goals.
  • Short term time period.
  • Potential for full time employment with employer at end of internship.
  • Paid position.
  • Internship offers opportunity to learn and demonstrate new skills.
  • Internship offers opportunity to enhance professional network.

The key is to make sure your post graduate internship will really lead to a future job offer and/or upgraded skills. Your focus needs to be on your full time position, but the summer after graduation can be used to position yourself for success. Be selective and proceed with the end goals in mind. What do you think of post graduate internships?


© Copyright 2014. Sandra Long. All rights reserved.

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Sandra Long

Sandra Long is the author of the bestselling book LinkedIn For Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide. She is also the managing partner of Post Road Consulting LLC. Sandra and her team work with corporations, universities, and individuals to drive successful sales, career, and talent acquisition results.

Reader Interactions


  1. Rich Grant (@RichCareer) says

    Nice piece, Sandra. For students looking for such opportunities, I have sometimes seen these called “fellowships” with a one or two-year duration. One thing I would add to your last couple of bullets about what to look for in the opportunity… look for a position that offers you an opportunity to achieve a tangible result, such as a project that you are accountable for. Being able to cite accomplishments will help in the next job search.

  2. Sandra Long says

    Rich, I think your suggestion is excellent! Looking for a program with an opportunity for a project (with a tangible result) is a terrific goal for any internship. Thanks for adding your thoughts. Sandra


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