What should I do if I want to get an internship right after my graduation?

The question “Can I get an internship after college?” could be on your mind for many reasons. You might be wondering whether you should take a job that you don’t like. You can keep applying for jobs that are difficult to get or you can focus on internships to get work quicker when it’s difficult to find a job. Don’t be discouraged – everyone has been there. Even friends who love their jobs often don’t know what they want to do with it.

Reasons to apply for an internship after graduation | Can I get an internship after college?

If you don’t have a job you are excited about or you aren’t certain what kind of work you want, it’s a good idea to apply for an internship.

There are many great reasons to seek out internships after graduation | Can I get an internship after college?

  • There is less competition. Internships are available all year, not just during the summer. There will be 10x less competition from September to May.
  • You can be hired by companies immediately. Many companies that have formal internship programs would like to hire interns, but they must wait for them to graduate. They will be happy to have the option of hiring post-grad interns right away.
  • Internships can be a socially acceptable way to “try out” things. A job applicant who has held three jobs within the first nine months of their graduation is a negative sign. If these are internships, it’s okay – nobody expects you stay more than a few weeks. A string of internships can help you determine what type of job you want.
  • It is easier to get an internship than a job. Even if you are certain that you want to work full-time, it may be easier to frame your application as an internship.
  • Internships can pay. Most internships should pay more than the minimum wage. After proving your worth over a trial period of one or two months, you can turn an unpaid internship into one that is paid.
  • Experience is required for certain careers. There are very few jobs in certain industries like media and politics that require prior experience. You’d be better off getting an internship rather than waiting for a job at the top.
  • Internships are great for those with a low GPA and little work experience. You can differentiate yourself by having a high GPA, working experience, or athletic achievements when applying for jobs. Internships are a great way to gain valuable skills and prove employers that you are worthy of hiring.

Internships are a great way for you to get started in your career after college, even if you already have a job offer.

Reasons why not want to intern after graduation | Can I get an internship after college?

While applying for internships is a good part of any job search, there are some situations where it doesn’t make sense. These are when:

  • You want (and need!) a job that is well-paid. For example, maybe you really want to move out of your parent’s place or you need money to support a family.
  • You will get diverse experiences through your job. Many large companies offer “leadership development” programs or “rotational” leadership programs that give new graduates a variety of experiences. These programs or roles such as management or design consulting can provide many of the same benefits as internships but pay much better.
  • You are confident that you can find a good job. This is if you are confident that you will land a good job, you have excellent grades, and have worked in internships in the past.

How do you find a job after graduation?

This guide will help you find internships that are not for current college students:

  1. Begin networking by conducting informational interviews. Begin by reaching out to alums of your school who have just hired interns or are hiring entry-level positions at companies. This guide will show you how to reach out via email and LinkedIn.
  2. You can search for internship opportunities and job postings. For internship job openings, search sites such as Indeed, Ziprecruiters, and Internships.com.
  3. Contact companies offering summer internships. Reaching out to all companies is worthwhile, but you should focus on individual internships and not formal programs. Larger programs at large companies will have a stricter process and are more likely to hire off-cycle. You can reach out to the person who is responsible for managing and hiring interns to discuss your interest in being an off-cycle intern. These people can be found (1) in job postings, (2) on LinkedIn by searching for recent interns. You can also reach out to them directly by searching LinkedIn.
  4. Internships via cold email. Below I describe how to send cold emails to alumni from your school or to employers.
  5. Internships via cold call. You can read my guide on how to find internships by cold-calling here. Note: this post is for high schoolers but this cold-calling method can also work for anyone.
  6. For interns, search LinkedInLook on LinkedIn to find students and graduates who have interned in the fields that interest you. Search the function first (e.g. In the main search bar, type “product” in the keyword field. Click “people” next to view results for people using that keyword function. Next, click “all filters”, scroll down and add “intern” to the title keyword field.
  7. Visit career fairs. These are no longer very popular due to the internet but they offer many opportunities. You have a better chance of finding internships and jobs if you go to job fairs.
  8. Talk to career counselors if your local area has one. They can help you find graduate internships. The majority of advice is free, and you might find valuable insight that can help you land the job of your dreams.

How to find a job after graduation continued:

These tips will help you land a great internship quickly after you have reached out using the above approaches:

  • Offer to work for free for a limited time. 
  • Companies that are actively recruiting should be prioritized. Focus your outreach on companies with live job postings, regardless of whether they have internship programs. Companies that don’t hire people are less likely to be able to pay you or hire your skills.
  • Ask formal programs whether they accept post-grads. Formal internship programs are more common in larger companies. They are also less likely (or to accept exceptions) to their process for anyone. Reach out to the recruiter and explain your situation. Ask if they are willing to consider recent graduates as interns.
  • Concentrate your efforts to speak with internship managers. Talk to the people who manage and hire interns. These are the people who have the resources and the skills to convince others to hire you.
  • Avoid companies with formal programs. Companies that do not have formal internship programs are more likely to offer a one-off job.
  • Develop side projects to complement your application. If you don’t have any work experience, spend some time developing projects that demonstrate your skills. Below is a list with dozens of ideas, sorted by function.
  • You should have a compelling reason to intern. Everyone will be curious, regardless of whether they ask. To allay concerns, you can explain that you had plans to do something different: “I was going to medical school but realized that I don’t feel passionate enough about it to commit to 10+ years to become a doctor.” To make sure that I choose the right job .”, I’m going to intern since I spent most of my time in school studying medicine. This can be added to your introduction to other people.

Send an email template to apply for a job after graduation

This is how a cold email might look to land a content marketing internship:cold email to get an internship after graduation

Below is a template for the email:


I am a recent [INSERT SCHOL] graduate and was wondering if you would be interested in an unpaid intern [IF YOU NEED A PAY INTERNSHIP] [INSERT FUNCTION].

I was a student and [INSERT RELEVANT EXPERIENCES AND ACCOMPLISHMENT]. To showcase my work, I have also created a portfolio of projects [INSERT A LINK TO A PORTFOLIO RELEVANT WORK].

Are you available to have a quick call with me to discuss any potential projects, such as [INSERT COMMON PROJECTS for THE ROLE] You can either schedule time with me by clicking here or let me know when it would be convenient for you.


Here are some examples of talking points for internships

After you have gotten someone on the phone, modify the below  sample script and use it for your conversation.

How to introduce yourself during a phone call
  • Hello, my name is Taylor. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
  • Dartmouth is where I graduated. I was the editor and writer for the D for four year. I edited more than 200 articles, and wrote over 100.
  • Although I would love to work in marketing, my school experience was primarily focused on journalism.
  • I would love to know more about you and your team, and to see if I can help with any projects.
What do they really need?
  • Let me start by asking you a simple question: Could you please share the top priorities of your team for the next six months? What is your boss’s measure of success?
  • Could you share the main projects that you are working on?
  • Do you have any tasks that you (A) want to complete but don’t have the time, or (B) need to do but wish to outsource?
  • Can you think of any other projects that could help you achieve your goal?
How to find out if they are open to hiring you | Can I get an internship after college
  • I was curious to find out if you have had interns on your team. What was their experience like? What were their main goals?
  • Are you open to hiring me as an intern for two months?
  • Do you have any questions or other characteristics that you would like to see in me before I apply for a position as an intern?
  • Last question: If your team is currently hiring full-time, would you consider a paid internship?


FAQ about post-graduation internships

What are the chances of me finding a paid internship after I graduate | Can you do internships after college?

Yes, you can. You can either look for paid internships or contact companies that are actively looking for similar roles. Both cases will allow companies to afford interns of high quality.

Internships are only available to students | Can I get an internship after college?

No. No. Graduate interns are able to work longer hours or throughout the school year and can begin full-time employment immediately. This is a great way for recent graduates to achieve even greater results.

What are the requirements to apply for student internships once I have graduated | Can I get an internship after college?

Yes, you can. There are two options. First, you can reach out to the person who is looking for interns and ask if they are willing to accept recent graduates. You can also apply if you don’t have to wait for the application process to be completed.

What should I do if an internship is not paid?

If you respond to a job posting for a internship, you may ask:

If you are interested in creating your own internship, please ask:

Check out this list of internships that you can do after college 

Here’s a list of internship opportunities for recent graduates:

  1. Internship in Brand Marketing, Ocean Spray
  2. Graduate Pharmacy Intern, Hawks Prairie Pharmacy
  3. Human Services Intern, The Lexington Arc
  4. Accounting Intern at WillScot
  5. Analytics Intern, Porter Novelli
  6. Research Intern, JUST Kapital
  7. Design Engineering Intern, CIVCO Radiotherapy
  8. GE Research – Internship for Graduate Fellows
  9. American Express Campus Graduate 2021 Marketing Internship, American Express
  10. 2021 Summer Internship Program (Graduate Students), US Legislative Branch
  11. 2021 North America HAROLD Intern Program, BCW North America
  12. 2021 – Space Policy Graduate Intern at The Aerospace Corporation
  13. Safety Coordinator Intern and College Graduate Program, New Envise
  14. 2021 Summer Graduate Intern-Oncology-Development, ONCOLOGY
  15. Graduate Studies Program-Intelligence Analyst, CIA
  16. R&D Data Science Graduate Programme, US, 2021 GlaxoSmithKline
  17. Internship as a Health Care Analyst, MITRE
  18. Corporate Underwriting Graduate Intern, First American

Other resources:

You can read my post about the best colleges for computer science.

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