If you’ve had a chance to catch up with friends who have graduated, you know the job market is tough. Every applicant has a college degree, excellent grades and a killer resume. What tips the scales for employers? Experience.
Having relevant work experience to get started in your dream career is key. The question is, how do you get it? There are really two choices: You can freelance or you can intern. Let’s look at the pros and cons of both to help you decide what you want to do this spring or summer.
This means going into business for yourself. You can do it from your dorm room, work around your class schedule and make a little money. Employers may be impressed with your entrepreneurial spirit and you may even like it enough to keep it up after graduating. You may, though, miss out on valuable networking opportunities.
In today’s market, these positions are usually competitive and require an interview. However, once brought on, you’ll get to see how a company works. You’ll meet all the movers and shakers and see the kind of work that goes into your dream job first-hand. Depending on your arrangement, you may also get course credit for this work. Many companies prefer to hire interns after graduation.
You might not be paid for the work you do and you’ll have to work on a set schedule, which can be difficult to change if you need more time for classes. You’ll also need to dress the part for your job with an appropriate wardrobe.
The bottom line
Whether you want to intern or freelance probably depends on how clearly you know your future. If there’s a specific company or job you want, being an intern can help you achieve that. If not, you may have more luck striking out on your own. You’ll develop a broader array of skills and the ability to create a flexible work schedule.