A job offer is no guarantee at the end of an internship, but often companies will use internships as a trial to see whether potential candidates fit in well with their company culture.
If you make a good impression as an intern, you have a good shot at getting a job with that company when one comes up. Here are some tips on turning your internship into a job.
Networking is a crucial part of your internship. Use your time at the company to meet as many people as possible. Take colleagues out for a coffee, or see if you can join them for lunch. Most people will be more than happy to tell you about their job role, and how they ended up getting their job. They will probably give you tips on jobhunting generally, and what they have learnt about the industry as well.
Obviously, if you feel like people are responding negatively when you approach them then don't push it, as you could end up alienating yourself. But you are bound to find at least one friendly person who will take the time to talk to you.
If you do get a negative response from anyone, don't take it to heart. Most people will be very busy, and they could be in the middle of a stressful project. Always respond politely, and thank them for their time anyway.
Similarly, if you feel the people managing you are being brusque or cold, particularly over email, remember that they are probably just pushed for time. Always respond to them enthusiastically, and you should find they start treating you with more courtesy in return.
Your internship is your chance to learn as much as possible. You probably will be given quite a few menial or slightly dull tasks – and it is important to get all these done without complaint – but once you have finished, make sure you let someone know, and ask if there is anything else you can help with.
Normally you will be tested on easy stuff to start with, and once you have completed it to a high standard, and shown some initiative in offering to help, you will be given more advanced projects to work on.
You need to speak up if you want to be remembered. There is nothing more frustrating than having an intern stare blankly at you when you are explaining a task. You have to ask questions in order to learn as much as possible. Most people would much rather you went a bit OTT on the questions, than you saying you understand, and then returning the work full of errors.
Also, make the most of training or one-on-one time to ask staff questions about the workplace, company culture and job roles. Remember, you should be using this time to see if the company is right for you – it is not just for the employers to see if you are right for them.
Check Your Work
Sloppy work and not reading instructions are two quick ways to make sure you will never get a job after your internship. Of course, you are desperate to impress, and you want to complete your tasks quickly to impress your employers, but if you rush things and make mistakes, then you will end up doing the opposite.
Read, and re-read instructions, and always ask if anything is unclear. Triple-check your work before you hand it back, and ask for feedback afterwards. Everyone makes mistakes, but if your work is consistently careless then employees won't be able to trust you with more complex tasks.
Enthusiasm is so important. If you are sitting at your desk, head slumped in your hands, checking your phone every five minutes, then clearly no one is going to think you want to work at that company.
Yes, some of the work will be repetitive, and not all of it will be exciting, but you have to treat each task with the same amount of enthusiasm. Most workplaces see a lot of interns come in and out of their doors, and if you don't seem willing to help out with a smile on your face, the staff will just focus their attention on the intern setting next to you who is. Don't let a bad attitude get in the way of a potential dream career.