An internship is an opportunity to test out a job or career path, as well as a chance for an employer to test out a prospective employee. Once you find an internship that you like, the question remains: How can I turn it into a job?
There are countless things an intern can do to get hired. It all depends on where you work and the people you work with. However, there are three areas of basic job functions where any intern can excel and improve the chances of being offered a full-time position.
- Initial Duties
The first and most important duty of an intern is to pick the right internship. Coworkers want to work with somebody who is interested in learning about the job and will take pleasure in producing quality work. It is no fun to teach someone who doesn’t want to learn.
You will want to do as much research on your company and industry as possible. The more you learn about industry terminology and trends, the more you can help your team or organization. Coworkers may not have time to slow down to explain things to you. Keeping up-to-date on industry trends will allow you to perform your job to the best of your abilities.
Ask Questions and Seek Feedback
Take advantage of your status as a student and ask lots of questions. It is very important. Most people see someone who asks questions as motivated and excited to learn. Internships are supposed to be a learning experience, and if you aren’t asking questions you’re missing an opportunity to show you’re a good candidate for future open positions.
Seeking feedback is just as important. Ask for feedback from your supervisor or mentor. They can help you make the necessary changes to improve the quality of your work. Many problems will be avoided if everybody is on the same page. This is the only way you can improve and be the best job applicant you can be.
Identify Issues Not Being Addressed
There will not always be an opportunity to do this, but if you see something that your mentor or other coworkers don’t see, tell them. If you can improve some type of communication, business function, or current project as an intern, you will prove to be very valuable to the company. An intern is hired to learn about a certain position, but is also there to contribute to the company. You will show a unique importance to the team, which will be huge if a full-time position opens up.
- Develop Professional Relationships
Once your internship begins, meet as many people in different departments as you can, including other interns. Attend all business activities, especially those designed to help interns network. Having a strong network of contacts can be critical to finding a job. All of these people could potentially recommend you for a position, serve as a reference, or even direct you to other job openings.
Find a Good Mentor
A mentor was likely decided for you before the internship began. Usually this person is the most qualified to be your mentor, but not always, so find someone who is willing to provide feedback and advice. Keep your mentor updated about the work you have done and completed so they can see your motivation to do well and also help improve your work. It is also always helpful to have a contact that has been in your position before and also has the power to hire.
Express Interest and Appreciation
Always show interest in the work that you are doing, and appreciation for those who provide instruction and feedback on your work. Showing interest in your work and the company will keep your name in mind if a position opens up, and showing appreciation for those who help you will make a stronger case for your application. This is one of the more important things when trying to get a job offer from an internship.
- Work Ethic and Attitude
It’s extremely important to tackle every assignment with enthusiasm. It will make superiors think you are more capable of consistently doing the job well. Ask to be in meetings and be involved in projects. You only have a short time to make a good impression, so every day is important.
Be Ready to do Grunt Work
Many times an intern will be assigned boring or menial work that others don’t like to do. This is especially true at the beginning of an internship. As an intern, this is your opportunity to show your boss that you are capable of more responsibility. If you can tackle more responsibility, you will be much more important to the company, and more likely to be offered a job.
Show Initiative and Ask for More Work
Some of the most important things to do at an internship are to take initiative and ask for more work. Showing initiative in your work demonstrates the personal responsibility you take to each task. This will reassure employers that you want to do good work. This will go a long way when a position opens up.