How To Turn Your Internship Into A Job
An internship is a bridge that can connect your student or graduate life on the journey to becoming a professional employee. It’s a unique opportunity to taste-test a work environment before you commit, and to experience unparalleled access to your future industry.
Of course, no two internships are the same. It’s important that every intern receives valuable insight and experience. A good program will see you sit in on meetings, communicate with coworkers and shoulder responsibility. If you want to make it a great one, it’s up to you to contribute to meetings, initiate team discussions and not only take on responsibility but be accountable.
If you’re looking for a way to take the step from intern to employee, then here are a few things you should consider.
A can-do attitude and strong work ethic are attributes that are never undervalued by employers. Don’t only stay determined in the first week, keep it up every time you enter the office. Show your manager that you’re not going to let this opportunity go.
Interns are often presented with situations that challenge professional confidence and work ethic – let’s be honest, the position isn’t exactly known for its prestige. That being said, perseverance will always be your best friend. Demonstrating enthusiasm for your work is a great way to stand out to your co-workers for all the right reasons.
Manage Your Time
This is something many professionals will argue only gets harder as you get older. But of course, there’s nothing quite like your first job. The pressure to perform against a completely unfamiliar benchmark is enough to keep anyone awake at night. But not only is achieving a good work life balance integral to your productivity, it’s also an advocate for your good health and happiness.
Even interns need to take a break. Sometimes you might be offered huge workloads on a tight schedule, with very little regard for your inexperience. Showing that you can manage your time is the best way to show you’re professional and capable of speaking up for yourself. There’s a difference between staying at work late to finish a project, and consistently typing into the early hours of the morning.
Responsibility is only one-half of the equation and means very little if you aren’t accountable for all of your actions. If you can be professional enough to take the credit when things go well, then you also need to be accountable for when you make mistakes.
Interns enjoy (or not, as the case may be!) a precarious position where you’re working for the business, but not actually an employee – nor in an employable relationship. In fact, there are a lot of interns out there who receive no monetary compensation at all. The hard part is that this doesn’t mean you don’t have an impact – by staying accountable you not only demonstrate your capability but your value as a professional.
Trying something new is intimidating no matter who you are! Start small; introduce yourself to your team members, raise your hand if you think (or are at the very least reasonably sure) you have the right answer. Suggest a change, even quietly, if you’re on track to a solution!
Taking any approach is usually better than standing and doing nothing at all. It shows that you can think for yourself – a fundamental quality of an effective, productive employee. If you feel you lack the knowledge to thrive in your position, consider taking on a short course while you work to upskill. Or choose a path of study that includes hands-on experience to get the best of both worlds.
Know If It’s Right
Sometimes things just don’t feel right. Perhaps you don’t love the work or the environment isn’t designed to nurture your talent and learning. The list of reasons against an internship is always growing! If the work culture doesn’t fit you, then you need to trust your judgement and leave. It isn’t the end of the world, there are plenty of opportunities out there!
On the other hand, if the position is everything you’ve ever dreamed of then don’t just give up. Ask for the job yourself! If that’s too direct, make a point of showing you’re interested. One word from you could make all the difference. It is wrong of any employer to assume that you, at the end of your internship, would still want the job you coveted in the beginning.
Know your rights! Unpaid work can tread a very fine line at the best of times. Understand your scope as an intern, find out more here.
Keep track of your tasks as you go so that your resume can be updated with accurate experience!
If you get rejected, move forward with dignity. Value yourself as an individual and part the business on good terms. You can usually leave with a great reference, and you never know what opportunities the future holds!
Understand the offering; is it full-time work, will you be positioned in administration? Knowing the work available will help you tailor an approach that positions you as the ideal candidate.
Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate about education, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.