Post-College: Internship or Start-Up Business?


College graduates are entering the worst job market for young people since the Great Depression. Today’s college graduates have to make a tough decision: begin a career search in this tough job market, or venture out on their own. Here are some things to consider.According to a Business Week report, entry-level positions are rapidly vanishing from the job market. Business industries such as hospitality, technology and transportation have cut back on entry-level job positions by over 40 percent.

What’s taken its place is the position of unpaid internships. Many college graduates see this job position as a necessary step in breaking into their career field. Unfortunately, the catchall term “intern” has led to widespread employer abuse. According to a New York Times’ story, unpaid interns from the movie industry are now taking the producers of a major picture to court. They allege that the production violated labor rules and did not meet the basic criteria for internships, such as educational instruction.

In fact, this lawsuit is amongst the first of its kind. With the economic outlook increasingly hazy, the large majority of unpaid interns have been silenced. They have accepted the long business hours, unclear job descriptions and zero job security. The pitfalls of being an intern come with large risks and little reward. Employers expect entry-level energy and initiative for no compensation. Yet these interns must exceed these expectations and perform menial tasks to make their presence known.

Those who have the initiative and drive in the business world would do better to launch their own careers. Through the Internet and some savvy marketing skills, college graduates can form their own start-up business. Those with educations can flip the script and turn unpaid internships into paid consultant positions.

The idea is to create a business plan for your own self-industry. If your educational background is in the creative industries, then use the Internet to self-promote and publish your portfolio. Create your own start-up business and design publications and sell them through online vendors or your own store. Or, you can publish your academic work and become a consultant on your particular expertise.

This requires some boots-on-the-ground marketing effort. Use your portfolio to aggressively market yourself within your local community. The experience you gain from a practical start-up business point is the same as in an internship. You’ll learn by doing and you’ll transition into the 21st century digital economy faster.

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