Kick-starting your dream career in today’s job market can be tough.
It’s a highly competitive world out there,
and it’s becoming more difficult with each passing day for job-seekers and recent graduates to get their foot in the door of their dream career.
That’s where internships come in. An internship offers the perfect opportunity to gain real-world experience in your industry. Not only that, but it makes for the chance to enhance your CV and build meaningful, professional relationships with like-minded individuals. Love them or hate them, internships are an invaluable step to take in your career path.
What’s more – an internship doesn’t have to be temporary. This fact is particularly ideal for recent graduates, as it eliminates the toughest step that follows university life: job hunting. Getting the chance to immediately kick-start your career following an internship is a chance that very few would want to see slip through their fingers.
Turning your internship into a permanent role isn’t going to be a smooth ride – it will demand a lot of effort and hard work. So if you find that you really love what you’re doing with the company you’re interning for, here are our top tips for turning your internship into a full-time job offer.
- Set goals.
Before starting your internship, it’s important to sit down and figure out your own personal goals going forward. This includes your long-term career goals and your goals at the company you’re interning for. Be honest with yourself about why you are taking on the internship and what you hope to get out of the experience. Setting yourself these goals will go a long way towards focusing your productivity and efforts during the internship.
Don’t be afraid to express these goals early on, including that you would be interested in a permanent role within the company. This makes it more likely for your name to be remembered when the opportunity presents itself.
- Act professionally.
It really goes without saying, but acting professional and punctual at all times is vitally important during an internship. You will be submersed into a professional environment, and so it is important to be able to convey that you can adapt well. Things as simple as following the dress code, arriving on time and getting on with performing your tasks to the best of your ability should be second nature from the very beginning.
Doing so shows that you are a reliable intern who respects the rules – in turn, you will gain the respect of your colleagues and superiors, making you a much more promising candidate to fill any open positions.
- Become a real member of the team.
If you really want to stand out as an intern, here’s the secret: don’t treat it like an internship. If you want to be taken seriously, treat the position as if it were a real, permanent role within the company. The most important thing to understand is that your contributions to the company will have an effect on other people – therefore, your mistakes will too. Take pride in each task you are assigned and ensure it is your best work before handing it in.
- Build connections.
Taking on an internship is one of the best chances to meet and develop relationships with like-minded individuals in your field. Make the effort to get to know your colleagues – join them for lunch when you can, participate in company events and social activities. These individuals will see first-hand how you work and what you are capable of, and so can be the ones to support you and vouch for you while you’re on your way to landing a full-time job role.
- Go the extra mile.
To be viewed as a well-rounded professional, you’re going to need to approach each and every task with optimism and enthusiasm – even the tedious ones. Whether you are asked to take on a big, exciting project, or are simply asked to make photo-copies, get coffees and do other menial work. The reality of a professional office is that everyone does some form of admin, so always strive to do more than what is expected of you.
Remember to be proactive – if you finish your work early, ask for other projects or suggest other ways in which you might be useful. Show that you are hungry to learn more, and are willing to take on extra work if the demands are there. Not only will this attitude ensure that you are getting the most out of the experience, but it demonstrates your ability to take initiative – which is a highly valuable quality in a candidate.
- Embrace the industry.
Showing genuine enthusiasm for your industry and the company you are interning for is a great way to stand out to your employer. Do your research and learn what you can about the trends in the industry. Furthermore, don’t forget to learn specifically about the company you will be interning for. Making the effort to clue-up on the company’s key elements and culture will not only impress your employer, but it will make you feel more confident and able to participate in company meetings and discussions.
- Ask the right questions.
During your internship, you’ll likely find yourself unsure about how to do something at least once or twice – don’t panic, you won’t be expected to know everything straight away. If you’re unclear about something, seek clarification. However, before you do so, make sure the answer isn’t staring you in the face or could be easily found in a training manual.
You should also ask for feedback about your performance and progress. Being open to advice on how to improve will show that you are capable of taking constructive criticism on board in a professional manner. Your employer will respect your desire to learn and improve.
- Get the timing right.
Ultimately, when it comes to turning an internship into a full-time role – timing is everything. There won’t always be vacancies available when your internship comes to an end – nevertheless, you should make the effort to leave on the best of terms. Do this by showing your gratitude for the opportunity – even a small gesture such as a handwritten thank you card can go a long way. When the time comes for the company to hire for a full-time position, it’s likely that they will seek someone who has familiarity with the company – and your name will be remembered.
Written by Katy Mairs, blog editor at Unibaggage.com.