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Top 10 Tips to Turn Your Internship into a Full-Time Job
Turning an internship into a full-time job can be the ideal situation. An internship is a great way to get your feet wet at a company and establish whether you like the work you’re doing, who you’re doing it with, and the company itself. So, if you’re either at an internship you currently like, or have an internship in mind, read on to find out how you can turn that internship into more!
We’ll expand on each tip, but below is a summary list of them as well. We’ll also answer some key questions such as how to ask if the company is hiring, and if you can be considered as a candidate for any open positions.
- Take initiative
- Showcase your skills
- Ask questions
- Make connections
- Stay curious
- Ask for constructive criticism
- Seek extra opportunities
- Be passionate
- Show up on time
- Establish professional relationships with superiors
Let’s start with something you’ve probably already heard before. Taking initiative can look like a lot of things, big and small. Maybe you pick up the empty coffee cups that were left on the table after a staff meeting or you spend time familiarizing yourself with company policies instead of scrolling on your phone. Perhaps it’s something bigger, like offering to do some office clerical work that nobody else likes doing. Taking initiative tells employers a lot about you, including that you care and can pick up on things that need to be done without being directly told or asked.
Showcase your skills
An internship may not always provide you with many opportunities to showcase some of your best qualities. However, that doesn’t mean the opportunities aren’t there. It just means that you may have to work a little harder to find them. If one of your strong suits is talking to new people, then use that with your co-workers to exemplify those skills. Maybe you’re great with social media? If so, make some example posts and ask your supervisor or boss to review them to see if you correctly captured the heart of the company.
As an intern you may feel like you want to ask as few questions as possible so that you appear more competent and knowledgeable, but that train of thinking may actually do you more harm than good. As an intern, and even someday as a professional in your field, it’s unlikely that you’ll know everything you need to at all times. When you do need to ask questions make sure you’ve made an attempt to find the answer first if possible, you may find that some answers are easier to find than others. Make sure you are asking questions at the right time as well, like at the start of the day or at a time where things aren’t chaotic. The point is, people need to ask questions and that’s okay!
Having people who enjoy having you around might be one of the most helpful factors to turn an internship into a job! Spend your lunch breaks, coffee breaks or bits of downtime at work interacting with people. Ask them how their weekend was, how work projects are going, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, ask a few people if they’d like to get lunch. They know you are the new intern and will likely indulge your invitation. Keep your eyes open for how you can make connections. Even just a few minutes of small talk before a meeting can go a long way. Whether or not you stay at the company, it’s always good to have positive connections with past employers!
Stay curious (be a sponge)
An internship is likely your first real experience working at a job in your career field. This means there are nearly unlimited opportunities for you to learn! Throughout your internship stay curious! Ask your coworkers to teach and share with you about their role in the company and what they’re doing. If you don’t understand how something works, seek to find out, either on your own, from a co-worker or a boss. Essentially, you should be a sponge, absorbing all the information that you can!
Ask for constructive criticism
Asking for people’s opinions of you can be incredibly nerve racking, but if you want to improve, having outside perspectives of your performance can be an invaluable asset. Make sure you’re asking the right people for their opinions. They don’t need to be your best friends in the office. Perhaps it is a supervisor who has gotten the chance to oversee some of your work, or someone who worked with you on those projects. Ask them for specific constructive feedback about work related scenarios. They may help you identify areas that you weren’t aware need improvement, or even help you see areas that you didn’t know were so strong.
Seek extra opportunities
Seeking extra opportunities can be a great way to show your initiative and work ethic. You’ll want to be a bit careful though not to ask for more work if your current projects aren’t well organized and up to date. Asking for more work when other things aren’t finished, or were finished poorly, can reflect negatively on you. However, the opposite can look very positive. It can show your employer that you are trustworthy with tasks, work independently, and an asset to the company overall.
Being passionate can mean a lot of things, but we’ll keep it simple. Do you remember how you felt when you applied for your internship? How did you feel when you first got it? You were probably excited and filled with all the possible ideas of things you’d learn and the people you’d meet. Or maybe you want to think about where you want to be in ten years, and how this internship is helping you get there? Don’t forget these things! Focus on them when you’re struggling to find the motivation to keep working hard, when you’re tired and just want to go home, or when you hit a block in the road. Don’t lose your passion!
Show up on time
This one might seem like something that goes without saying, but we’re still going to say it. Being even just five minutes late to a job can communicate a lot about who you are. Obviously being late once or twice due to traffic or an unforeseen circumstance is human and it happens. However, repeatedly walking in late with a drive-thru cup of coffee in hand is likely something that is preventable. Aim to show up just five to ten minutes early to everything to ensure you aren’t late. Bring some work with you to do during that time, or better yet, get to know the people around you!
Establish professional relationships with your superiors
It’s great to build strong relationships with your coworkers, but at the end of the day, they likely aren’t the ones who will have any say in whether you stay on at the company or not. So, be sure you also build strong relationships with your superiors. This can be hard and certainly intimidating, but is also well worth your time if it’s what helps you secure the job you want. Things as simple as saying good morning when you pass them by, keeping them updated on where you are with projects, and responding to their emails and messages promptly are a few examples. And of course, all the other things we’ve mentioned above, such as being on time!
How to ask if they are hiring
Asking if a company is hiring during your first week as an intern probably isn’t the best idea. As much as the company needs to get to know you, you should get to know them!
Ask for a meeting
If you are interested in working as an employee, let your boss know as you come upon your last few weeks. Ask your boss if you can schedule some time to talk with them, or if you have an exit interview as part of your internship, talk then. Make sure you prepare before you head into the meeting. Think about why you want to stay on at the company, why you are an asset to them, and how you would fit in as an employee.
Be willing to accept their answer
The truth is that even with the perfect internship at a great company that is hiring, they may not hire you. However, while the time may not be right, it doesn’t mean it won’t be right sometime in the future. Thank them for their time and all they’ve done during your internship. Keep in contact with them through professional channels like LinkedIn. At the end of the day, you’ll know that you’ll likely be able to count on them for a good recommendation or serious consideration for positions that may open up in the future.
Know your worth
Before we close out this article, there is one last point we want to talk about: knowing your worth. As a recent college graduate or someone with little experience in a particular field, it can be tempting to want to take anything that comes your way, but that’s not always the best option. While it can be nerve racking, waiting for the right internship or job to come along can be well worth it. Don’t sell yourself short. You may be new to the field, but you’ve also just spent a lot of time in school preparing yourself for this moment or have previous life experience in another career that you bring to the table. Know your worth when you’re applying to internships!
Frequently asked questions about turning your internship into a job
What percentage of interns become full time employees?
Can you work full time as an intern?
What happens after an internship ends?