April 6, 2017
Interning for the right company can be a fulfilling experience. You’ve probably met a great network of professionals, gained valuable skills, and have been exposed to a work environment that is in parallel with the career you’re aspiring to attain.
Skills and experience
If you’re interning for a company that you truly want to have a career with, you’ve already got the upper hand. Through your internship, you’ve likely gained nuggets of knowledge about the company, such as their mission, business model, and goals. Having insider knowledge can give you an edge over other applicants. Make it a priority to display your expertise through various ways. Traci, a hiring expert at Accenture, offers this advice:
“Most firms are looking for an intern to take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the intern experience, whatever those may be. It may be the case that all you have to do is show up and put your best foot forward, and that is great, but also think of ways that you can expand upon the experience just by asking or exposing yourself to new things above and beyond the scope of what you’ve been brought in for. Are there calls you can join to gain a better understanding of a certain topic? Maybe there is a networking event you can ask to be a part of. In general, demonstrating curiosity above and beyond your day to day, in any number of ways, to establish that you have a genuine interest in your position as a career is a great start!” 1
Understanding the needs of the company is key. If you are able to, be a part of a conference call or ask to tag along at a client meeting. The knowledge you gain will give you a better understanding of how you can use your skills and talents to benefit the company. In addition, having a positive attitude goes a long way. If you are completing your work on time, without complaint, it’s likely that your supervisors will give you more relevant work rather than “busy work” because they know you can be trusted to complete the job.
It’s likely that you’ve met at least one influencer at your place of internship. Your colleagues can prove valuable in a number of ways. Most obviously, they can endorse your worth to the company. Go out of your way to build a relationship with these people by forming a lasting impression. Striking up a conversation with current employees doesn’t have to be difficult. A hiring expert from Textron Inc, Claire, gave this advice:
“Employers will notice interns who come prepared to work every day but are also willing to learn as much as possible from the internship. Interest in the company and willingness to go the extra mile can go a long way when an employer is considering full time candidates. If you are interested in a full time role with the company you are interning with, I would suggest building your network and asking full time employees about their job and why they like working there. This may help give you an idea of a full time role you’d want to pursue.” 2
The professionals you’re being exposed to can offer a lot of knowledge on not only the company itself, but the industry you’re pursuing in general. Taking advantage of this by asking the right questions can give you an edge over other applicants. Remember, it’s much more beneficial to the company to bring on someone that already has insider knowledge than it is to train an employee fresh out of the gate.
Once you’ve decided that you find this internship fulfilling and you’d like to transition to full time, be clear about it. It’s best to let your supervisor or coworkers know sooner rather than later that you’re interested in a full time position. Should the company you’re interning for be hiring someone within your field, you’ve already set yourself up for consideration. Ashlyn at Worthington Industries adds this advice:
“I always suggest to students to let employers know right away if they are going to be seeking full time employment after the internship. It shows engagement and eagerness to make a name for yourself and sets the stage for management to consider you for any full time openings should they come about. If you've just started at an organization, I would wait until your manager or peer asks you how you're liking the role- that's always a good time to mention you'd love to work full time upon graduation. If people aren't actively engaged in conversation with you, set up a time to chat with your manager about this.” 3
Ambition is a highly sought after skill, so be assertive. As Ashlyn says, being transparent in your desire to attain employment will keep you top of mind for hiring managers. You may be asked at some time during your internship how you feel about the role, company, industry, etc. This is a great opportunity to open up a conversation about continuing your relationship with the company. Being engaged and excited by voicing your interest will entice management.
Congrats on having an internship that you find valuable enough to make a career out of! You have experience, new skills, and a relationship with current employees all working in your favor. Going the extra mile by getting involved in more projects and building a strong network of references will put you ahead. Be clear with your management team by letting them know how enthusiastic you are about the company and the position you’re seeking. Make this an easy transition by being dedicated, personable, and transparent.