How to turn your internship into a job offer:
Congratulations! You’ve landed that highly competitive, highly coveted internship with an organization you’d love to work for full-time someday. You beat out dozens of other applicants and now it’s up to you to make a good impression and prove to your supervisors that they made the right choice.
Getting the internship you want is one thing; standing out among other interns and co-workers is a whole new ball game. Think about what you hope to achieve through this internship. Is it a stellar recommendation from your internship supervisor? A full-time job offer? Whether it’s one or both of these, there are some steps you can take to ensure you’re a standout intern.
Assess your skills.
The most successful professionals have a solid set of skills they can transfer from one position to the next and use to their advantage as they move up the career ladder. Consider the following desirable qualities, and then examine whether or not these are strengths or areas in need of improvement.
Are you able to:
- Communicate effectively?
- Demonstrate patience, sensitivity, objectivity and integrity?
- Prove you are trustworthy and supportive of your colleagues?
- Demonstrate leadership qualities?
- Understand the critical difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness?
- Be flexible, adaptable and diplomatic?
Your employers will also be looking at your administrative, project management, and social skills and will most likely observe how well you build healthy professional relationships and expand your network. Once you have inventoried your skills, be sure to highlight these right away and put them into practice throughout your internship.
Evaluate your social media presence, email address and voicemail message. For starters, put yourself in your employer’s shoes and do an online search on your name. What does your Facebook profile say about you? Are your privacy settings secure? Do your overall search results show up favorably? Go through your social media accounts, considering photos, tags, comments, and “likes” that you may want to adjust to better fit your developing online professional presence.Evaluate your professional image.
Check your email address and outgoing voicemail message. One college student I know sent his professor an email from the address crazydaddy321@yahoo, while another one still had his phone’s voicemail saying, “Yo, you know what to do!” It’s best to catch this type of thing early in the game.
Be patient and helpful.
Are you more technically savvy than your co-workers? Chances are that much of today’s rapidly moving technology is overwhelming to some of the older employees – the same technology that is likely second nature to you. Be helpful, but not condescending, and offer to help your colleagues navigate the often murky waters of social media, smartphones and more.
Never forget, though, that your older co-workers still know more than you do about the company, its policies and practices and the inner workings of the business. Be cautious, however, not to come across as the young “know-it-all” who thinks he or she has all the answers.
Before your internship begins, learn as much as you can about the company. What is its history? Who are the main stakeholders and thought leaders? Once you’ve landed the internship, make it a habit to think about what you can do for the company and not what the company can do for you. Observe daily routines and learn them. You will probably be asked to perform tasks that you feel are beneath you. Ignore the temptation to complain or resist and carry out all requests as though the life of the company depended on it. Do more than is asked of you without making a big deal of it.Be diligent, and educate yourself.
While you may not be earning a paycheck, you’ll be earning something much more important: respect, and perhaps even the coveted job offer.
Tyana is a writer for Bisk Education. She works with the online programs from colleges such as Villanova University and New England College. Tyana covers a variety of topics centered around the collegiate community. She is currently a junior at the University of South Florida studying Technical Communications and New Media. Tyana has a passion for learning, technology and internet trends. Email Tyana or Follow her on Twitter: @tyana_daley