Mentioning Grad School to Employers

<p>NOTE:I also posted this in the Internships and Employment Section</p>

<p>Hey guys, I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this topic. I just graduated from undergrad earlier this month. I knew that I wanted to take some time off--one year, to be exact-- before getting an MA in IR, and I plan to apply in the fall. My only problem is that I'd like to get a little work experience in before then, but I'm concerned about interviewing for a position knowing I'd definitely leave after less than a year. I feel that I should mention grad school right off the bat for employers, rather than drop it in their lap come next August, and have a angry employer as a result.</p>

<p>Of course, all of this presupposes that I actually will have a job (not looking good) but I want to know if anyone has any experience in this area? Most of the positions I'm applying for are program assistant/research assistant at NGOs/Think tanks.</p>

<p>I tried this.</p>

<p>I started interviewing in Fall 2009 for some decent positions. The problem was that all hiring was basically on hold until 2010, when the new fiscal year started (employers were basically trying to ride out the worst of the economy).</p>

<p>I started out not mentioning it, but then once 2010 came around, I couldn't go without mentioning it any more. I started being honest about my intentions— and directly contacting the people with the power to hire (i.e, through LinkedIn). I got an internship-type position, and then managed to bump it up to a well-paying contract position when I threatened to leave.</p>

<p>The assistant type jobs actually sound like they could go either way. Some positions like that kind of expect people to move on to grad school. Work experience is crucial for IR, especially now that you have a gap year to fill. Maybe you can anonymously ask about it before you apply / while applying.</p>

<p>What's most important is that you get started right away so that if you do leave, you would spend at least 1 year there, which is kind of the sweet spot at which you can leave without feeling too bad.</p>

<p>For entry level jobs, it's not expected that people will stay in those positions for long. It's normal for people to leave their entry level jobs after one or two years. Everyone understands these days that a lot of us are thinking about graduate school and will expect a turnover over the next few years. Everyone knows that we all need to start somewhere.</p>

<p>I wouldn't mention it. But if they do ask about long range goals, do be honest about it. Just say that you might go to grad school for a MA in IR "down the road" and then do X or Y. It shows that you are already thinking about your life, are focused, and honest.</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice! I was also considering doing an unpaid internship (some think tanks and NGOs allow recent graduates to apply) since there's wouldn't be any disagreement over ending dates. However, would it be frowned upon by grad programs to do unpaid internship after graduation? Also, isn't that technically illegal if someone isn't a student any longer?</p>