If you are hoping to turn your 3-month internship into a full-time, salaried position, that’s great! But you’re going to have to work for it. To put it simply, if you treat your internship as an internship, you probably aren’t ready for a job. Follow these tips below to show you have what it takes to make it to the next round.
Throw out what you think you know about working hard, and get ready to work harder. And be smart about where you spend your energy. The truth is that many interns do the bare minimum. They do what they are asked to do, with as little effort as possible. Instead of only doing what you are assigned, find a few ways each day or week to go above and beyond. Whether your mantra becomes “under promise and over deliver,” or “Ritz Carlton service,” figure out how to anticipate and solve problems, and make everyone in the office’s lives a bit easier. Take out the trash without your boss asking, stay late to help finish a project, ask if anyone needs help with an upcoming event. You might not always get verbal recognition from your boss, but just because they don’t say something doesn’t mean they didn’t notice.
Get a company MBA
During your internship you are testing out this agency or company, just as they are testing you. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to shadow other departments. Learn as much about the company and how it works so you can figure out where you best fit in as a part of the team. Review old case studies, clippings and client proposals to get a sense of what’s gone on before you came on board and to get a sense for where the firm is headed.
Ask for it
If you want your internship to turn into a job, you are going to have to ask your boss. Most employers won’t offer you a position post internship unless you have shown a clear interest in a more permanent position. Schedule a face to face with your boss a few weeks before your internship ends. Treat this meeting like a job interview, and come prepared with examples of the impact you have made during your time and ideas for how you can continue to be of service. Be direct about your enthusiasm for continuing to work with your team, boss and clients. Do not frame this conversation in terms of your financial needs, but in terms of your cultural fit and value.
It can be tempting to bond with your coworkers through office politics, gossip or client complaints, but be warned: this is dangerous territory. Keep conversations positive and productive. You don’t want anyone to doubt your character when it’s time to decide if you should be part of the team.
Never burn a bridge. Even if you hated every minute of your internship, leave on a positive note. Future employers may call your boss, clients or coworkers for a reference, and you want them only singing your praises. Don’t let one bad internship experience (however valid) stop you from a future opportunity.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Kos-Read