Note: This post was submitted to Student Caffé by Alex Moore. We would like to thank him for his submission and credit him as the author of this blog post. Alex Moore is a psychology undergraduate student and HR consultant. Through his articles, he strives to create a healthy work-life balance for everyone–from total newbies to experienced managers. You’ll usually find him writing for the Job Application Center.
If you’re looking to turn your internship into a full-time job after you graduate, there are a few things to keep in mind that will help get you hired. Fortunately, many employers use their internship program to save money on actual recruitment, so you’ve already got a leg up. To turn your internship into an actual job offer, follow the guide below.
Choose the right internship.
The first step to landing a full-time job is to pick the right internship from the get-go. At this point, you probably have an idea of what type of career you want, but you may not know how to get started. Finding the right internship (by networking with alumni, asking for help at the career center, etc.) can help you learn more about your chosen industry, help you gain the skills necessary to succeed, and potentially result in a job. For example, if you want to work as a financial analyst, you will first need to land a banking internship. This can help you develop great number sense and analytical skills, which will only help further your career.
Make a good first impression.
As an intern, it’s important to give off a good impression to not only your immediate supervisor and coworkers, but the company as a whole. This way, your supervisors (and your supervisors’ supervisors) can see that you are both personally and professionally fit to work for the company. Research the company you are hoping to intern for to identify its core values and mission. Use this information to define your work ethic. Don’t forget to dress the part!
Complete projects before their deadlines.
Before beginning a project, ask your supervisor if they have any input or tips for how it should be done. If you have any questions, ask before starting the project rather than working on something that you’re unsure about. While it’s always best if you can complete your projects on or before their deadlines, if you expect a delay, always let your supervisor know. He or she may assign someone to help you, especially if the project is time-sensitive. Getting your work done in a timely manner can only help your career for the better.
Displaying interest in your job and constantly developing your knowledge and skills by attending seminars and workshops can help turn your internship into a job offer. Not only that, staying current on your industry’s standards will make your life easier at work and offer a good impression to your supervisor. No company wants to hire someone who doesn’t like what they do.
Follow the rules.
It seems obvious, but following company rules and regulations shows your supervisors that you care about and respect the corporate culture of your workplace. This includes wearing appropriate attire, taking breaks on time (but not excessively), and respecting your coworkers and other interns. It’s important that you take the necessary time to learn your company’s guidelines, in case your supervisor tests you on it (yes, that really happens!).
Create a lasting relationship with your superiors.
Your supervisors at work will be routinely checking in to see your accomplishments. It’s important that you do as much as you can to meet their expectations and, when possible, exceed them. At the same time, you should also try to build a lasting relationship with them to help further your career and professional development opportunities. Take the time to get to know your superiors as people and as career mentors. They are the ones who can offer you life lessons to help improve your work and standing at the company, and they can put your name in the running for a spot as a regular full-time employee.
Connect with your coworkers.
Whether it’s asking your coworkers to grab a snack after work or hanging out at a company event, connecting with your coworkers can help get you out of your comfort zone and help you network with people your age. Learn from their experiences at the company; knowing what to expect and what difficulties others faced will help you navigate the company’s culture and succeed at your internship.
Ask your supervisor and coworkers for advice on your work performance. This will not only help you to improve but also let your supervisor and coworkers know that you are flexible and willing to make necessary changes to be a more successful employee. Asking for feedback can also illuminate your supervisor’s expectations of you and your work, solving all sorts of easily avoidable problems.
Set your career goals.
Before you start your internship, determine your goals. What is your endgame? It’s hard to determine without knowing exactly what you’ll be doing, so once you start working at your internship, focus your time and energy refining those goals and deciding what you really wish to get out of it. Perhaps you want an offer for a specific job within the company or simply want to gain experience in a certain industry. No matter what your goals may be, knowing what they are will help to inform all of your work decisions, help you determine what is most important in your career, and keep you on the right track.
Be a problem solver.
Try to find issues within the organization that are not being given enough (or any) attention and offer your thoughts on the solution. Even better, offer your services to fix the problem. Employers are always looking for employees that can think creatively and help the company run even more successfully. Always be ready to share your ideas.
Ask for a full-time position.
It never hurts to be direct with your supervisor about what you want. In fact, you should be honest about your goals; hiding them or pretending you don’t care is only going to hurt yourself. Make it clear that you are interested in working for the company full time and ask about any openings at the company. After you’ve expressed your interest, your manager will keep you in mind, even if there isn’t a current open position.
Show your appreciation.
At the end of your internship, it is always nice to display your appreciation for all the people you worked with. Make sure you thank them for the opportunity to learn and grow. Send an email to your supervisor and your close coworkers, or go above and beyond and mail out handwritten notes. A personalized note is memorable, and it shows that you are willing to go the extra mile.
Keep in touch.
After your internship ends, you should still keep in contact with your supervisor and coworkers. The easiest way to do this is by connecting with them on LinkedIn or emailing updates when something notable happens. This contact will ensure that you stay on the radar and come to mind the next time the company is hiring. Social media also makes it easier to ask your previous coworkers for advice and guidance in the next steps of your career.
By following these helpful tips, you can turn your internship into a job offer with ease. Good luck!