How to Transform Your Internship Into a Full-Time Job
This is a guest post from my super productive friend, Briana North. If you’d also like to contribute to the blog, please read our writing guidelines.
Internships are oftentimes associated with grunt work and coffee runs, but that association (while sometimes accurate) doesn’t paint the full picture of interning and the important opportunities it provides. Taking on internships in your field shows initiative and a desire to work and learn, often for free. Fortunately, with some extra gumption and dedication, paying your dues this way can help you land that full-time job you so desire.
Work, Work, Work
An internship is the perfect opportunity to show your skills and value – and it’s also a great way to demonstrate that you can handle a full-time gig. Take on any assignments that are available to you, volunteer when additional hands are needed for an event and don’t be afraid to take on tasks that are menial. Staying busy and actively involved in projects speaks highly of your work ethic, and people do notice.
Study Like a Student
Ultimately, an internship is geared toward learning, but in this classroom, you’re responsible for how much you knowledge you gain. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to clarify anything you don’t know, and seek out potential work mentors whose positions you admire. Seek their wisdom and guidance on your career path, and let them know that you want to learn as much as you can from them.
As you tackle more and more projects and connect with employees with a range of job functions, you’ll learn vital lessons about the field (as well as your individual likes and dislikes, which are sometimes surprising).
You may feel awkward at the thought of attending a company picnic or annual meeting, but if you’re invited, plan on participating. These functions are great ways to get to know a range of employees and potential job references, but they also reflect a general interest in the company and its people.
Taking the time out of your schedule to attend shows that you want to be involved more with the organization, and that kind of initiative is not ignored. These functions are wonderful platforms for networking, as well.
Simple acts like smiling and asking how someone is doing can go a long way in advancing your career. People appreciate friendliness, and personable workers tend to forge better connections that lead to better opportunities.
No matter what kind of day you’ve had, walking around looking grumpy is only going to make people distance themselves from you, and that person you ignore in the elevator might be the person who could offer you a corner office. Never forget to practice kindness and enthusiasm. They’re both contagious.
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Watch the Clock
You may have heard the tried-and-true advice of being the first to arrive at work and the last to leave, and you may have assumed that applied only to those with full-time positions. Interns, however, can benefit from this advice just the same.
Punctuality is impressive, especially among interns who often view their temporary assignments as just that: temporary. If you’re lax in time management as an intern, you’ll likely follow suit as a full-time hire, and managers know this. You don’t need to work 12-hour days, but showing discipline in time management is a vital way to demonstrate that you take your internship assignment seriously.
Obviously, listening skills are imperative when tackling assignments and understanding general expectations, but listening is also an incredible networking tool. When meeting new colleagues or potential references, make sure you treat the conversation as more of an interview for them than a selling moment for yourself.
People are drawn to those who allow them to talk about their own experiences, and if you can be that listener for them, they’ll remember you positively.
Too often, interns make the mistake of going on and on about their classes or career goals (and you’re certainly allowed to talk about these), but make sure that you’re also engaging the other person in an effort to learn from them. Failing to do so is a missed opportunity.
Take a look at your internship expectations, and then set goals for yourself that surpass those given to you by the company or organization for which you’re interning. When setting these individualized goals, look at your specific strengths and weaknesses.
Are you shy and reserved? Perhaps you can challenge yourself to speak up in a meeting, or ask an assertive mentor for advice on how to break out of your shell. Tailor the internship experience to your own needs in order to gain the most out of the experience. Doing so shows growth and ambition, and accomplishing these goals will make you a more well-rounded potential hire.
Internships are opportunities to both showcase your skills and improve upon them at the same time. Through diligent hard work, goal-setting and interning initiative, you can definitely set yourself up for a full-time position.
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Latest posts by Briana North (see all)
- How to Transform Your Internship Into a Full-Time Job - November 6, 2014