Internships may seem like only a way to gain valuable experience and fill up your resume. But if you play your cards right, an internship can actually turn into a full-time job. The truth of the matter is that with the high turnover rate of the current workforce, employers are finding it more and more difficult to retain an employee, which is costing them a good penny. As a way to make sure employees are a good fit, a lot of employers are using internships as a barometer.
The following are seven tips that will help you make the jump from an internship to a real job.
1. Work hard and take initiative.
We know the basics for success as an intern: be on time, dress and be professional, and take on assignments without complaining. But if you want to turn your internship into a full-time job, than working hard and taking initiative is a must. That means not just doing what is asked, but going above and beyond to do the things you haven’t been asked to do—but you know are needed. Employers love to see leadership by way of teamwork. Taking on an additional task that wasn’t assigned to you shows employers you are willing to do what it takes to help your team reach the next level.
2. Become a problem solver.
While it is expected that you won’t know it all and you’ll need your supervisor’s help from time to time, do not be the person who asks so many questions that you wind up adding more work to your supervisor’s plate. In fact, the more you become a problem solver, the easier it will be for you to land a job after your internship is over. Those who can find solutions to issues without always getting other people involved are those who can be trusted to be productive and add to the bottom line.
3. Make yourself valuable.
Speaking of the bottom line, those who know how to make themselves an asset to a company have a better chance of landing a full-time job. At the end of the day your potential employer is looking to be profitable, so those who add to that mission tend to have a better chance of landing a permanent gig. The more valuable you are to your potential employer, the harder it will be for the company to envision itself without you.
It all starts with you. Being a hard worker is of course your number one priority and goal, but make yourself in disposable. Is there a work event that night and they need volunteers for check in? Go! Is there a work happy hour? Go! (if you are of age). Are all your colleagues planning to take a spin class together? Go! Immerse yourself in the work culture, and everything it has to offer. Make yourself a member of the team in and out of the office. Have your colleagues remember your name, not just refer to you as the intern. Offer to run that random errand your boss’s assistant cannot do right now. Go above and beyond. Come in early and get a jump start on some emails, so when everyone else is in the office on time you are ready to lend a helping hand. Go out to lunch with your co-workers, get to know them. Also, from past experience I really appreciate when an intern asks me how I got to where I am—it shows they are taking interest.
4. Make key connections.
Sometimes the department you are working in may not have an opening, so it is important that you informally network with different departments to connect with those in senior positions who may have the power to employ you. People love to speak about themselves so use this as an opportunity to learn more about them and what they do. Ultimately, these connections will be beneficial as your internship comes to a close.
5. Act like you work there already.
The best way to show your potential employer that you are a good fit is to show them how well you fit into the company culture. Instead of acting like an intern, it is a good idea to act like you work there already. Doing so gives your potential employer a crystal ball view into how you would be as an employee. Attend as many meetings as possible and give feedback (when it makes sense).
6. Remain positive.
No one wants to hire a person who is always negative or complaining, so make sure you always stay positive and bring good energy to the workplace. When you make people feel good with your presence it makes them want to be around you more. It is often said that people do business with those they like and, while this isn’t a popularity contest, remaining positive will help you fit into the workplace.
7. State your claim.
As the saying goes, “A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.” Even if you do all of the above, you can’t expect anyone to read your mind. If you are looking to have your internship morph into a job, make sure you are expressing your interest to the powers that be. If the company doesn’t know you enjoy working there, you may get passed up by someone who is more vocal.
Continue to nurture the relationship and create a mentorship with your internship boss. They have a lot to teach you, and further you pursue this relationship, the more beneficial it can be to you in the future. Although your current internship might not turn into a job immediately, do not be discouraged. Your boss and co-workers might have connections at other companies in the same field that might be hiring during the time you are looking. This company might also want experienced employees and right after an internship you don’t have full time experience, therefore you can find a entry level positon, gain the experience needed to go back to the company that employed you as an intern and become a full time employee.