Summer internship season is on the horizon, and slews of college co-eds will be jumping into the professional workforce. Landing that prime internship was definitely an achievement in and of itself, but remember, it isn’t the ultimate goal.
Contrary to popular belief, a successful internship results in more than just becoming proficient in office copy machine mechanics (that’ll come). No, your goal as an intern is to do such an amazing job all summer that they have no choice but to offer you a full-time position.
Jumpstart your career this summer and scroll on for eight ways you can make sure your summer internship ends with a full-time job offer.
1) Make a Good Impression
You’re not the only one thinking it. Often, companies use internships as a way of finding new employees and, therefore, hand-pick their interns with this possibility in mind. Go into your first day intent on acting professional.
Make eye contact when you’re talking with someone, respectfully ask questions and take notes when you’re given an assignment and stay off your personal email/social media accounts during work hours. Also, do your best to be friendly to your fellow co-workers while keeping in mind that they’re trying to do their job and don’t have a lot of time for chitchat.
2) Fit in with Corporate Culture
In other words, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. As an intern, your office may give you some slack in the wardrobe department, but that doesn’t mean you have to take them up on it. Every office has its own type of “dress code” and dressing like the rest of the office would be a great way to show your supervisors that you are capable of dressing the part.
If you’re not quite sure what the dress code is, do a little digging before your first day to find out. This could be as easy as looking on their website or emailing the person who hired you to ask. Either way, walking into work on your first day in an office-appropriate outfit will give you a huge leg up in the confidence department.
3) Let Them Know What You Want
The great thing about internships is that, above all else, you are there to learn. If there’s a project or presentation you want to be a part of, you should speak up and let your supervisor know.
Don’t miss out on great opportunities because you’re feeling shy. Let your employers know what career path you hope to take after graduation and offer your services for any department that may interest you.
Not only will observing these opportunities firsthand prove valuable in your future career but, chances are, they will be far more interesting than making another pot of coffee in the break room—which is exactly what you could be doing if you don’t speak up and let them know what you want.
4) Work Hard – No Matter the Job
It’s no secret that interns sometimes get handed off the workload that other employees don’t want to deal with like making photocopies and updating excel documents—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t relish the opportunity to do a good job. The hardest jobs to do well are often the ones you least want to do; therefore, showing your employers that you can maintain a good attitude while getting your tasks done in an efficient and timely manner will get you a lot of points in the “great work ethic” column.
5) Troubleshoot Problems – But Don’t Overstep
Gain the reputation of a “problem solver” among the office workers by taking the initiative to act on any challenges that arise during your assignments. Trust us. Companies love to hire people who can face a problem head-on without needing constant direction.
If this happens to be something you’re good at, run with it. After a while, you may even be invited to pitch ideas in a staff meeting or troubleshoot solutions to a particular project with the rest of the team. Just make sure your initiative and input are welcome before offering your proposed solution. In other words, be helpful without becoming invasive and you’ll leave a lasting impression.
6) Make Connections
A huge part of becoming successful in any field is finding someone you know who can help you get there. During your internship, expose yourself to as many departments and employees as possible. Not only will you learn more as you’re exposed to more, but you’ll also become a familiar (and helpful) entity in the office that other employees will, no doubt, miss when you’re gone.
As you start to work more closely with people, it’ll become easier to turn those surface “good mornings” into more personal connections so that you can start making solid contacts in your field. Make sure to take advantage of all of the experience you’re being exposed to. Ask your new mentors how they got to the position they’re in and if they have any advice/nuggets of wisdom for you. After all, you want to sit in their seat someday soon. Why not go directly to the source to find out how to make that dream a reality?
7) Ask for Feedback
In a professional setting, most employees get quarterly or annual performance reviews, letting them know what they’ve excelled at and where they might need to focus on for company growth.
Give yourself a leg up amongst the competition and ask your supervisor for a performance review. They might feel awkward giving you feedback—after all, you might be working for “free”— which is why you need to ensure them that you would really value their constructive criticism of how you could be performing better.
Half-way through the internship seems a fair time to ask for your assessment, as you should have already had ample time to adjust to the position and would have just as much time to improve your performance if it’s needed.
Whatever their assessment, take it with a smile—without getting defensive—and ask follow-up questions so you can better understand how to improve.
It’s always a little nerve-wracking to hear other’s feedback on your skills but, in the end, your desire to grow and improve will make the right impression.
8) Make Your Intentions Clear
Hopefully, by the end of your internship, you’ll have a clear indication of whether or not your employers think of you as full-time material. If not, however, it may be because you haven’t let them know it’s something that you want.
Request a sit-down with your supervisor and let them know you would like to stay on with the company in an entry-level position.
Do a little research before your meeting to find out what positions within the company may be available and update your resume to reflect your qualifications.
If your supervisor isn’t the person who can get you the job, perhaps you need to make an appointment with Human Resources or whoever is in charge of the hiring and let them know that you want to stay on as a full-time employee.
Do your part by making your desires clear, updating your resume and asking your supervisor to put in a good word for you, and then leave the rest up to fate. Because, after doing such an amazing job all summer, you’re bound to end up with a full-time job worthy of all your skills.