Fresh out of college, you’ve decided to intern at a great company which will hopefully result in a full-time offer. Here’s how you can make it happen.
Internships have a pretty bad reputation – mostly thanks to Hollywood. But, they’re not all about fetching coffee for the entire office, picking up the boss’ clothes from the dry cleaners, and being forced to do all the soul-crushing work no one wants to do. For the most part, they’re nothing like that (of course, it all boils down to how truly horrible and demeaning your boss and coworkers are towards you). The benefits of a summer internship are many: they provide you with a great opportunity to gain work experience and to jump-start your career toward success.
Finding an internship might not be a walk in a park, but it’s certainly doable if you put your heart into it. But the real question is how can you turn an internship into a full-time job?
1. Choose the right internship
You shouldn’t apply for the first internship you find, especially if it’s got little to do with your career goals. The key is to find one with the most potential for growth and employment. It might seem strange, but small to medium sized businesses are quite a good idea as they are often understaffed and receptive to fresh ideas and initiatives. Fist you need to find out about a company by talking to previous interns to find out what their experience was like and decide what company you would like to intern at.
2. Dress for success
You know what they say about dressing for the job you want, not the one you have, right? Well, the same kind of applies here. Dress and present yourself as though you were a full-time member of the team already; adhere to the company’s dress code and office hours, treat everyone with respect and professionalism, and – for the love of all things good – don’t spend the entire day watching cat videos on YouTube.
3. Network, network and network
One of the many awesome things about interning is the rather advantageous position you’re in to grow your professional network. Talk to everyone and interact with your full-time colleagues, seniors, and other interns – even if you don’t manage to score a full-time job with the company you’re currently interning at, your newly-made contacts just might be able to help you find another opportunity elsewhere.
It’s especially important to forge a good relationship with your supervisor. If you manage to meet and or exceed his expectations, he is more likely to suggest keeping you on or hiring you when you graduate.
4. Ask questions
Asking questions makes you seem interested in the job and the company, which is precisely what employers look for in employees. What’s the point of hiring someone who couldn’t care less about the company’s mission?
The questions shouldn’t be all about the company though. They should also be about the industry and specific skills. A great intern is naturally inquisitive and wants to learn as how to advance their career.
Even if your internship doesn’t result in a full-time position with the company, you’ll have gained valuable information from the experience that you can use further down the road.
5. Exceed expectations
You will increase your chances of getting hired by the company you’re interning at if you successfully exceed management’s expectations. For example, management will have guidelines that interns must follow and specific assignments that they need to complete. If you want to become invaluable to the company, consider the following tips.
- Responsibility – If you show that you are a responsible professional and actually want to complete all tasks, you will demonstrate your viability as a prospective employee.
- Assignments – An intern who asks for more work will be viewed as a potential effectively productive employee. Accept new challenges and be responsible.
Management needs to be assured that their employees know how to take full responsibility for their actions, mistakes and behaviours. If you show that you have proficiency in this area, you will increase your chances of getting hired.
6. Become invaluable to management
One of the most important things that you can do during your internship if you want to get hired by the company is to become invaluable management. You need to be viewed as an irreplaceable individual, whom the hiring manager needs to consider hiring immediately after your internship. You have to add value to the company by doing the following:
- Productivity – Your work ethic demonstrates that you complete tasks in a timely fashion and would be a productive employee who adds value to the company profit margin.
- Proficiency – It is important that your skillset demonstrates proficiency and your assignments are completed effectively and with a thorough knowledge of the company.
If you can demonstrate productivity and proficiency the work you produce, the management team shouldl see that you are an invaluable asset and must join the team and continue to advance in the company.
7. Attend all intern activities
Most businesses host various events for interns, and it’s a really good idea to attend them – all of them. Whether it’s paintballing, playing softball, networking, or having a drink, make sure that you make it. If you’re worried about seeming desperate, don’t.
Attending all these activities makes you look like more of a team player; the ability to work well in a team is a trait that all employers look for and you should try to convey it at every opportunity by fostering positive relationships with colleagues.
8. Be direct about asking for a job
Don’t dance around the question or topic just plain up ask them if there is any possibility of getting hired. Your supervisor won’t mind; they will probably prefer that you are so direct. If you don’t let them know what you want then they might just move onto another intern.
9. Take initiative
Nearly all internships involve a certain amount of downtime where you have nothing to do and can just chill out. Use this time to your advantage. Take the initiative and ask for more work. Look for projects that your colleagues are working – especially ones that you find interesting – and ask if they could use a hand.
You might find that you learn some new skills or information, maybe even make some new contacts. No matter what the case is, it shows that you will be a great asset to the team and willing to work.
10. Keep in touch
You might not be immediately offered a job towards the end of your internship, but that doesn’t have to spell disaster. Keeping in touch with the company and colleagues – a simple “thank you” note will do – might lead to a great opportunity when a space opens up later on.
Did you manage to turn a summer internship into a full-time job? Tell us how in the comments section below, along with any tips and tricks you’d like to share!
This article was originally published in June 2016.