They tell you to “get an internship, even if it’s unpaid. It’s an experience.” So you do. If you’re ambitious, you can even land five internships by the time you graduate. But what they don’t tell you is how to turn all of that hard work into a full-time job.
It becomes frustrating because at the back of your mind are 2 voices, the one that says you have found a job at last and the other reality check that says you cannot achieve as much as your permanent-worker colleague.
Know this: even the most successful people had to start from somewhere and had insecurities too. An internship more often than not, is a stepping stone to a more permanent position. It helps you start. However, interns who eventually get hired are not only smart and hardworking; they are also invaluable.
These interns make connections with teams and individuals in the office. They build up trust with their coworkers and consistently contribute excellent work beyond their departments. They don’t consider the most menial jobs as offensive. With time, they become crucial to the success of their managers.
To quote Executive VP of Outfront Media, Jodi Senesh, If you want to turn any internship into a full-time position, “treat it like a really long interview.
Consider these few pieces of wisdom if you want your internship to end with a job offer:
1. Make your intentions clear
Sit down with your supervisor when the internship starts and clearly articulate your goals. Start like this: “My goal is to perform at such a high level that I get a full-time job offer.” Your manager might tell you there’s no vacancy but that shouldn’t discourage you. Still put it out there that you are gunning for a long-term offer afterall your manager isn’t a mind reader, so don’t assume he or she knows that you want a job.
While some graduates only take an internship to gain experience, acquire certain skills, or test what it’s like to work in a particular industry, others are willing to stick at the job and make something of it. These are the people that get hired.
Also, meet with a representative in human resources to express your intent is to get hired.
2. Solicit feedback from your boss
Many managers are uncomfortable providing feedback to interns. But you’ll need input from your manager to improve your skills and prove you’re worth hiring
Make the situation less awkward for your boss by taking the lead. Say: “I want you to know that I have thick skin. I’m here to learn and improve, so please never feel uncomfortable giving me constructive criticism.”
Also, ask your manager for a midterm performance evaluation to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and take the opportunity to highlight your achievements thus far. Don’t rely on your boss to keep track of your accomplishments.
3. Step outside your department
Don’t limit your interactions to only your direct supervisor and immediate peers. Your particular boss may not have the power to offer you a job when the internship ends, but a manager in another part of the company may be able to hire you.
Meet other hiring managers by requesting informational interviews (e.g., “Do you have a spare half hour for me to stop by and learn more about what your team does?”). You’ll gain institutional knowledge, gain visibility, and begin building meaningful relationships. Granted, your fellow interns may be meeting with the same people, but you can leave a more lasting impression with a simple trick: Get your own business cards(if nothing in the company policy says you can’t). The company probably won’t give them to you as an intern, but you need to have your own cards and hand them out to people, so you can maintain communication and show you’re already a professional.
Additionally, volunteer days, company softball games, and happy hours make for great casual settings to meet employees you wouldn’t normally be exposed to, so keep your eye on the company newsletter, so you can take advantage of these events.
4. Take on more responsibilities
Stereotypically, the word intern is often related to nervous, young people who go on meal runs and drown in menial administrative assignments.
If you want your internship to lead to employment, you have to break out of that mold as quickly as possible. This is done not by being rude or overly assertive but by showing what exactly it is you can do.
It is important to demonstrate to your boss that you’re capable of more than busy work. If you’ve already done this, it’s a good omen.
If your role has evolved and you’re taking on greater responsibility, it’s a sign you’ve proven your value to your boss and can be trusted to handle bigger projects. While this doesn’t guarantee a full-time job offer upon graduation, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
5. Establish your reputation
Once you’ve established a track record of delivering excellent work, ask if you can accompany your boss to an executive meeting. (You can sugarcoat your request by offering to take notes.)
Before the meeting, introduce yourself to attendees one-on-one. Then, when you run into people in the hallway or at the water cooler, initiate conversation (e.g., “Hey Jim, it was great meeting you yesterday. I enjoyed learning more about our target customer from your presentation.”).
6. Make solid connection with people who can vouch for you
Even if your internship has a formal mentoring component, you should develop relationships with several advisors throughout the company, Seek out tenured employees who understand what makes the company tick. Foster these relationships, so you have buy-in when it comes time for the boss to decide which intern to hire.
In conclusion, work twice as hard. Remember, an internship is like a long interview. Make it count.