For eager college students and recent grads, the internship can be a stepping stone that provides valuable work experience. Or, with skill and a little hustle, it can result in a full-time job. If you’re ready to land your first post-college gig, and you’re hoping it will be with the company you’re interning with, read on for ten tips to help you score that job offer.
1 Make sure you want the job
It seems obvious, but make sure you actually want a job with the company you’ve been interning for. The familiar can be alluring, but make sure the job actually aligns with your career goals. Would you be better off staying put, or parlaying your newly gained experience into a more suitable job with another company?
2 Let your manager know you’re interested
If you decide you’d like your internship to transition into a job, let your manager know well before your internship ends. Just be aware that after you’ve relayed your interest, you’ll be on your manager’s radar, and he or she will be evaluating your performance even more closely to determine whether you’d be a good fit. Time to shine!
3 Don’t be an attention-seeker
No one ever scored points or won respect by running around shouting, “Look at me, look at me!” That’s what you’re doing, metaphorically speaking, when you constantly seek attention in hopes of landing a job. You may also be alienating fellow interns or coworkers.
4 Show your passion for the work
Instead of trying to draw attention by talking yourself up, prove that you’re indispensable. Seek out opportunities to learn new skills. Listen when your manager and co-workers talk and do your best to learn what the company’s needs are, then work to find ways you can help fill them. Seek out extra projects, and don’t be afraid to share your ideas when you have them.
Make sure you understand how you can provide value to the company. Be an expert listener. You can learn what a company needs by talking to other full-time employees and learning about daily problems they encounter in their work. Work toward developing the right skills to address those problems and fill needs and you’ll have a strong case to become a full-time employee.
—Michael Mager, Grammarly PR Manager (and former intern)
5 Show an interest in your coworkers
Some people are naturally likable. What do those people have that makes others think so highly of them? They’re interested in other people. People who ask questions and show a genuine interest in the answers are easiest to like. Develop your listening skills and try to learn what makes your coworkers tick.
6 Don’t speak ill of others
Okay, so that other intern isn’t exactly pulling his or her weight. You know it. Some of your colleagues probably do, too. It may be tempting to talk about this person’s shortcomings with others, but resist the urge; you’ll only come across as a gossip or backstabber. If the problem of a slacker colleague is truly impacting your work or making you look bad, there are some steps you can take to deal with it. Just make sure grumbling to other coworkers isn’t one of them.
7 Network outside the office
Is there a company team-building event happening? An after-work party? Have you been invited to join some of your colleagues for tapas at the local cantina? Go! Fitting in with the company culture is more important than ever these days, so it pays to make an effort to socialize even when you just want to go home and curl up with a good book.
8 Keep track of your progress and accomplishments
Don’t rely on others to notice how hard you’re working. Although you may be closely scrutinized, you’re just as likely to have your efforts go unheeded. Keep track of your accomplishments. If possible, use data to support your claims. Be prepared to do a little self-promotion when you’re ready to make your pitch for a permanent position.
9 Find a mentor
See if you can turn one of your coworkers into a mentor. This person should have talents that align with your career goals. Ideally, they’ll also be the sort of person who’s not ultra-competitive and tends to naturally have good things to say about others. If your mentor is a former intern who was promoted to a regular full-timer, all the better—you can learn about their experiences turning an internship into a permanent gig. Here’s some advice from Livecareer about finding a mentor.
10 Do the work no one else wants to do
Internships can mean doing scut work. (Hey, someone’s gotta do it, right?) You’re a newbie, so consider doing those menial chores no one else wants to do as a means of paying your dues. Remember how we talked about being likable? When you take on that data entry task, freeing your colleague to concentrate on more important work, you’ll be winning a friend. It never hurts to be known as someone with a strong work ethic.
If you truly want the full-time job, getting all these ducks in a row early on will boost your chances of being asked to stay. When you’re ready, take some time to hone your elevator pitch, and then make your intentions known. The future awaits!
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