These days, doing an internship is almost an obligatory part of your studies. This is why you might as well make the most of it. Consider your internship as an extended job interview and probation period rolled into one. That means doing your homework just as you would with any interview – and showing what you’re worth from the moment you are given the chance.
1. Tell them what you want
If you are serious regarding turning your internship into a full-time position, present this from the very beginning – perhaps during your first interview. If your employer is keen on the idea, then you’ve got yourself an amazing internship and job opportunity. If not, and a full-time gig is your ultimate goal, this internship may not be right for you.
2. Interview them
Remember that you’re testing the water with this company just as much as they are testing you. Take advantage of the internship to see if you can spot bad company culture before you get excited about working full-time. On the other hand, if you find that you love the working environment, you’ll have all the more motivation to do your absolute best.
3. Write everything down
Take the initiative and, as previously described, track and update all of the milestones and tasks you complete as they are assigned and enter them in your journal or smartphone. At the end of the internship, this will come in handy when you make your case to become a full-time hire. This tangible record will serve as both proof of the value you’ve added to the company and motivation for yourself to continue adding valuable accomplishments to the list throughout your internship. And… all this hard data and the success stories will help your resume/CV look amazing!
4. Be a sponge; remain positive
Your boss and co-workers realize you’re an intern, and you’re not expected to know how to do everything that’s assigned to you. Take advantage of this short period in your life when it’s okay to ask questions about the basics. Absorb all of your surroundings. If you make a mistake, don’t let it get you down. Stay positive, and remember that employers may judge you by how you react to the mistake… rather than the mistake itself.
5. Act like a full-time employee
Even though you may be the newest member of the team, be confident in your abilities; cordially talk to everyone at the company like you’re here to stay. If you like the company culture, show it by immersing yourself in the company outings and socials. Small-talking with your co-workers while waiting in line for your morning coffee will slowly build relationships, and it’ll be nice to see their congratulatory smile when you hopefully tell them the good news of your full-time hire.
6. Schedule a face-to-face
As you near the end of the internship period, schedule a meeting with your employer to talk about your performance and possibilities of continuing your employment at the company. Bring your list of accomplishments, and show them exactly how you’ve proven yourself valuable.
7. Keep your connections
If you haven’t already, no matter what the outcome of your internship, make sure you keep in touch with all of the connections you’ve made at this internship. Add everyone you’ve worked with and met on LinkedIn, and make sure to send them a quick hello from time-to-time to keep the contact fresh.
8. Don’t rush any decisions
If you receive a full-time offer, remember you are not obligated to take the offer… or at least the first offer. If the company is not a good fit, be appreciative of the offer, but realize you can take your newfound experience to a culture that better fits you… or perhaps hold out for the next offer.
Be sure to research your market value by comparing salaries at various companies to similar job titles with your level of experience. Be honest and sincere about this – because if you counter-offer with a number above what you know you’re worth, you could lose the offer altogether.
Keep these tips in mind – and your next career transition just may be from intern to full-time employee.
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