You’ve Graduated, Now What?

 

College graduate holding "Now What" sign

College Graduate

By: Brittany Bluford

Millions of college students will walk the stage, get their diploma, and enter the real world looking for one thing…a job. Unfortunately, recent college graduates have a higher chance of being unemployed than finding a job. The typical time it takes a recent graduate to find a full time career is one year, but there are three alternatives for jobless graduates to invest their time in and add to their resume.

  • Internships

Internships provide on–the-job training in a particular career or field. Although they are common for college students, they are a great option for recent graduates. These on-the job training opportunities have grown in popularity because they offer flexibility experience and look great on resumes. Recent graduates can dedicate a few hours a week to internships and the rest to their job search. Both paid and unpaid internships are available, and there is a possibility of being offered a job at the end of most internships.

  • Volunteer Work.

There are several local and international volunteer organizations looking for professionals with certain skill sets. Commitment ranges from regularly to once a month, and there are hundreds of volunteer areas. Different areas include: fundraising, administrative and special events. You can choose to contribute to a great cause alone or in a group. Also, your volunteer experience can be included on your resume if it’s relevant to your career goals. Check your local volunteer database for opportunities.

  • Networking

Have you been lucky to find a great opportunity because you knew a friend of a friend? Remember the girl who got a job because she knew the right person? The saying goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and it’s proved to be true in many cases. Life is all about connections: shaking the right hand, starting a conversation with the right person and handing out business cards to the right people. Take advantage of the alumni events your college gives. Also, there are many groups that connect graduates with professionals in their field. Today’s technology allows networking through social media. LinkedIn is a fairly new site designed for students, graduates, group and professionals to make connections. The network also allows your connections to write recommendations for potential employers to view.

These options are a way to occupy time after graduation and still become a more attractive job candidate. Whether you intern, volunteer or network, you are much closer to landing your dream job.

Recent Lawsuits Bring Attention to the Plight of the Unpaid Intern

Written by: Kristiina Yang

coffee mug reading "fill this, intern"

Interns are expected to work long hours and are often given menial tasks. (Photo: wesleying.org)

With many college students and recent graduates already or soon partaking in summer internship season, several class-action lawsuits occurring over the past year against major companies are bringing to question the morality, legality and future existence of unpaid internships.

In the United States, there are nearly 1.5 million internships offered each year with approximately half of those being unpaid. In the midst of recession and a difficult job market, many companies are asking and requiring their interns to spend long hours doing work that should be tasked to entry-level employees and often with no financial compensation.

Such was the impetus for three major lawsuits filed this past year- beginning with one in September 2011 against Fox Searchlight Pictures, another in February 2012 against the Hearst Corporation (owner of the magazine Harper’s Bazaar), and one the following month against the “Charlie Rose” show.

In each case, former unpaid interns purported that the hiring companies had required them to work excessively long hours with no compensation, violating federal and state wage and labor laws. While these sued companies have denied wrongdoing and the cases have yet to be resolved, such lawsuits are sending a warning signal to both employers who plan on hiring interns and to students considering taking unpaid internships about exactly what will be expected of them and whether such expectations are legitimate or not.

The New-York-City-based law firm Outten & Golden is behind all three of the class-action suits filed so far and have created a website providing information on the cases and calling on former and current unpaid interns to come to their firm with any information and complaints.

Such legal actions are bringing to question the future of the unpaid internship, a rite of passage that has become prominent for both students in college looking to gain experience and postgraduates hoping to get a foot in the door toward a future career. Although unpaid internships have risen to become extremely desirable and competitive in past decades, these lawsuits show that this norm may be shifting.

Despite such increased public attention on the poor treatment of unpaid interns, companies will still likely continue to offer unpaid internships. However, with companies in fear of having to deal with such potentially time-consuming and reputation-tarnishing lawsuits, paid and unpaid internship programs are seeing and hopefully will continue to see restructuring, returning the internship to the valuable educational experience that it is intended to be.