Ellevate Your Career is a blog series on On & Off Duty that focuses on career advice for young professional women in the workplace.
With the better part of winter behind us and the early signs of the spring season in front of us, the business world is gearing up for a new crop of eager and hard working students to join their ranks as interns.
In the recruitment and human resources world, spring is synonymous with “internship season” and at times can be one of the busiest times of the year. As a recruiter, it’s my favorite time of the year as I get to visit campuses and learn more about how technology and education are changing from young generations that are ready, willing, and able to get started.
From a company’s perspective, internships are a great way to get their name out there, learn more about what the future generation of employee’s is looking for in their workplace, and a great way to train future employees to help grow the organization. For student’s, it’s a great way to get real world experience outside of a classroom, familiarize yourself with an industry, and a great way to land that post-graduate job.
Since there is no full-time offer guaranteed at the end of an internship, intern’s have to make sure they stand out to land the job. So how does one do that? I’m listing my top 5 tips on nailing your internship and landing that full time offer.
// GET CURIOUS //
At many established organizations that have recruitment teams that coordinate internship programs, it can feel like your whole internship is planned out to every last second. If you take on at a internship at a smaller organization, it can feel like there is no structure.
No matter which internship you fall into, the same advice applies – get curious.
The interns that stick out the most are the ones that are generally curious about the work being done at the organizations they are interning at. Ask to jump in a meeting for a project you’re not assigned too. Interview others in the company to learn more about what they do. You may find that you have a interest in a certain project and it never hurts to ask to join in.
The bottom line is, if you wait to be told what to do or get by with just the basics, you’ll never have the opportunity to showcase your talents. Use an internship to grow your skill sets and showcase that you have more to offer than what meets the eye.
// FOLLOW THE FEEDBACK //
Make sure that a 1:1 meeting is scheduled with your supervisor at least once every other week, once a week is best if possible. Ask for feedback! Learning to ask for feedback and taking it to improve each week showcases a maturity level that’s not normally expected of interns.
Make sure to take notes and track your progress. At the end of your internship, you’ll have records showcasing how much you’ve learned and what skills you developed. The proof will be in the pudding and no one can argue with facts!
// RESPECT TIME (IT’S LIMITED!) //
In today’s ever hyper connected world, it seems like time flies by in a blink of an eye. If you ask anyone within an organization what they wish they had more time of, the answer would always be time.
As an intern, learn to respect time as it’s limited in quantity. Always be on time for work, meet your deadlines and turn in project work on time, and remember to respect your managers/supervisors/team members time.
// NETWORK INTERNALLY //
Internships are a great way to connect with peers who are going through the same life experience as you, however don’t ignore those individuals outside of your immediate department or team. These individuals can be the most helpful when it comes down to making offers.
My rule of thumb is to talk to at least 1 employee not on your team each week at the organization you are interning with. Ask them to coffee or ask for just 15 minutes of their time to learn about your background, career, and the projects they are working on. You may find yourself a mentor, a new project that peaks your interest, or just someone who has your back and advocates for you when the important decisions roll around.
// BE HONEST & ASK! //
As you work through your internship program, it’s important to make sure that you are being honest with yourself on your feelings about the company and/or position. Do you see yourself working for the organization for the next two years? Do you agree with the company’s values and mission? Do you enjoy the culture of the company?
If the answer is yes to all of those questions, then your next step is to “ask for the job”. Most interns don’t let their supervisor, human resources manager, or recruiter know that they are interested in a career with the company. Put yourself out there and make it well known. You’ll never get what you don’t ask for.
I’d love to know from you guys – what advice would you give you interns to help them land the job? Anything in particular that you did that helped you land an opportunity?
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:: Photography by Justine Seidl ::