I am a second-year master's student in my program. I specifically chose to study at the school I am at right now because of its location, especially its proximity to think tanks, NGOs, and government agencies. Since I felt that because my classes are in the evenings, I could take part in internships during the day. Even during the academic semester, I feel as if internships are difficult to land. Most of the internships in my field of area and the city itself, are unpaid. There are some positions, from my perspective, are paid internships, but are advertised as contractual work (lasting only a few months). There was a so-called "contractual work" position with an academic nature someplace that I went for an interview a few weeks ago. The pay was just minimum wage in my city. When I was applying, I had to submit my resume, cover letter, and writing sample. The people interviewing me never read my writing sample, which became evident to me at the time of the interview. I eventually got turned down by that place, but I never heard back from places that only offer unpaid internships (not even for interviews).
Many of my classmates seem to have worked a few different internships, especially at think tanks and offices one each semester, but theirs were unpaid. I never interned as a student. Before enrolling in my program, I had thought of deferring for a year, which my program allows. I was offered a position at a small firm, but I turned it down at family recommendations to seek a better job. I was unlucky to find another better job, so I eventually went to graduate school.
I personally think that internships, even unpaid ones, are hard to find. In my opinion, internships are more difficult to land than real jobs are. Do internships even help with seeking real jobs? I read an article saying that only paid internships are helpful for finding jobs, while unpaid ones are not. One other question: since I am graduating in May 2018, when would be the best time to apply for jobs? How long after the application deadline does the hiring decision-making processes take?