Tue, Nov 18, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Internships offer graduates choices

DAUNTING CHALLENGE Earning little or no money as an intern may enhance long-term employment prospects because of the precious experience it offers

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Students swarm in front of booths looking for suitable employment at a fair held at National Taiwan University on Nov. 3 last year.

TAIPEI TIMES FILE PHOTO

Finding a job after graduation is a challenge that college students face every year.

But during an economic slump and within a tight job market, searching for a job becomes daunting. However, it is not a mission impossible.

According to a survey conducted by 104 Job Bank last month, the most important factor in getting that job offer is relevant work experience.

Among 747 companies surveyed, 65.6 percent said that relevant experience is the most critical factor in the hiring process. And of the 1,365 people who graduated from college this year and already in jobs, 72.9 percent felt that relevant work experience was the most crucial factor in receiving an offer.

"Many college students prefer to work in better-paying, part-time jobs that are not relevant to their future profession. Although working in a related industry would be beneficial to their career development, these internships pay rather less compared to a lot of other part-time jobs. They offer little appeal to students," said Monica Chiu (邱文仁), brand manager at 104 Job Bank.

Teresa Chu (朱俐) and Yoland Wang (王又冉) are two journalism students in college who have already received job offers before their expected graduation in June next year. After graduating, Chu will work for a Chinese-language newspaper in the US, while Wang will work for a tourism public relations firm in Taipei.

Experience

"We both had a lot of internship experience at various media outlets, and this experience allowed us to receive early offers," Chu said.

Chu has worked for two TV news stations, a financial magazine and a newspaper, all during her undergraduate studies.

"I started working in the media industry on my own initiative. My first part-time job was working on a TV project at a leading news station," she said.

Chu heard about the job opening through her journalism professor, who had connections with the news stations.

"The pay was about NT$120 per hour; and although the pay was not all that great, I learned a lot about TV production through this experience. I stayed in that job for a year until the project was completed," Chu said.

Chu's second part-time job was working as an intern reporter at a well-known financial magazine.

"I also got this job through my professor. The magazine actually didn't hire interns, but my professor managed to get me in as he knew the editor there. My job was to assist a reporter as she conducted interviews. This internship was unpaid, but I learned how to prepare well before writing up a story," she said.

Last summer, Chu secured a news internship at the largest newspaper in Seattle, Washington.

"I was on vacation there and browsing the newspaper's Web site where I found that they were recruiting summer interns. I decided to give it a shot and was fortunate enough to be hired," she said. Listening and writing at a professional standard of English turned out to be a challenge for Chu at the beginning.

"Because I was assigned to report on the state government's financial news, I had to pick up many business terms which did not come easily to me. Every day during the first week, I had to stay up late, look up every unfamiliar word and ask a friend who majored in business for help," Chu said.

Chu also had to face language barriers because English was not her first language.

"My drafts were rejected by my editor over and over again and I got very discouraged. During the first week on the job, I cried every night because I found writing a news article in good English to be very difficult. However, I was undeterred by this and decided to work harder for the rest of the two months," she said.

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