Today, internships are more important than ever. With the economy, employers are exceptionally cautious when hiring new people. Therefore when you land an internship don’t just think of it as work, think of it as an ongoing job interview. While on one hand, you get to find out whether or not you are compatible with the company and can see yourself working there full time. It’s also a chance for your boss to see whether or not you can succeed at your job.
Here are some tips to take the intern out of your title and transition to a full time employee.
If you are seriously considering turning the internship into a full time job, present this idea at some point during the first or second interview. If the employer is interested in that idea, it’s the perfect opportunity. If not, the internship may not be the right fit, especially if you just graduated from college.
Don’t just limit yourself to the tasks you are given. Proactively ask different people if they need help or if there is anything you can do. It’ll show you are making the extra effort, plus if you succeed at the little tasks, managers will give you more responsibilities.
Meet with your manager the first week and establish things you would like to have accomplished before your internship is over. Even if they’re tasks you don’t like, it’ll be good practice for the future. Successfully completing your goals will give you an edge when it comes down to explaining why you would be a valuable full time hire.
If you don’t know the answer to something, ask. You are there to learn so it’s important to clarify any questions you may have. Always take notes in meetings or when anything is assigned to you so you don’t have to ask twice. However if the answer seems to be something you can find out yourself, Google it. You’ll save yourself some embarrassment of asking basic questions.
No matter what the outcome of the internship is, it will be a great place to make connections. Fostering connections will be a skill that will benefit you through your entire life. Be friendly with your coworkers, friend them on LinkedIn, and keep in touch from time to time. You never know when they may be able to help you make a job connection!
At the end of the internship, if you are offered a full time position, remember, you are not obligated to take it. You can appreciate the offer but if it’s not a good fit, you can hold out for something better. Make sure to do research on how much people in your position would be making at other companies at the same level. Be honest about this number, you don’t want to counteroffer too high and lose the offer.
Even if you don’t get offered the job, remember that the experience you gained at your internship will still benefit you in the long run.
About the author
Jessica Finger currently works for Noodle, whose mission is to help anyone make a more informed decision about their education. From K-12 to college search, from courses to tutoring, Noodle allows you to search thousands of opportunities, get advice from experts, and find the right path for you. Jessica is a graduate of Quinnipiac University, and outside of work likes reading, going to the theater, and exploring the Internet. Follow her on twitter:@jkfinger.