Most workplace interns are current college students, and their internships are usually for college credit and/or professional experience. My first internship was between my junior and senior year of college. I learned a lot and was even offered a position with the company after my internship ended. Actually, 52% of interns are offered a full-time position after their internship, according to research done by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). How though, do you as an intern make sure you are a part of that 52% by the end of your internship?
Whether you are still in college or a recent graduate, “Being an intern is the most effective way to interview for a company,” says Katie Radford, talent and culture manager at DoSomething.org. With that being said, here are ten ways to help you turn your internship into a full-time position.
#1: Be Professional
It may sound cliché to be professional at work, but lacking professionalism and self-awareness in the workplace is one of the biggest mistakes interns make, and is one of the biggest reasons why they do not receive an offer after their term is up. Being professional means carrying yourself in a responsible, respectful manner. In other words, be the best person you can be.
#2: Dress for Success
No matter your office culture, dress your best every day. Just because your office dress code is jeans and a button-up or polo shirt doesn’t mean you should show up in ripped jeans or wrinkled shirts. Your goal is to show your company that you are to be taken seriously for this position, and what you wear expresses that a lot. You will also feel more confident when dressed nicely.
#3: Be on Time (Even Better, Arrive Early)
There is nothing more displeasing than an intern or employee who constantly shows up late to work or meetings. If you want to be taken seriously at your job, simply show up. Arriving when you’re supposed to (or earlier) demonstrates to your supervisors and co-workers that you are organized and dedicated to your internship.
#4: Don’t Get Too Comfortable
It’s easy to get comfortable—sometimes too comfortable—especially with fellow interns and coworkers around your age. Always remember where you are. Many jokes or stories are better left unsaid, rather than risking offending your teammates or having your remarks taken out of context. Remember you’re in a professional environment and how others perceive you can make or break you in the hiring process.
#5: Take Initiative
Do not misuse or abuse your time. Far too often, interns feel they have the freedom to ‘chill’ when they’ve finished their work. Chilling is for outside the office once you are done with your tasks. Don’t sit on your phone or mindlessly scroll the internet. Ask your manager or co-workers if they need any help or assistance, especially if you’re aware of a project that’s behind schedule or is overwhelming someone.
#6: Seek Feedback
As an intern, you should always be seeking feedback on work you have completed. After completing an assignment, ask your manager if there is anything you could have done better. This shows your manager that you are consistently seeking professional growth. If you are striving for a full-time position, asking for feedback could be significant in reaching this goal.
#7: Speak Up
Be active in communication between your co-workers and other departments. If you find a more efficient way to do a job or task, don’t hesitate to speak with your manager or peers about your idea. Speaking up can spark innovations around the office, so shout it out.
#8: Keep a Clean Workspace
Always keep your workspace free of clutter. This will show your supervisor and co-workers that you are organized and focused. A clean workspace will also give you more room to work on projects and other assignments without feeling stressed from a cluttered desk. DO NOT keep confidential documents in plain sight (keep these locked away when away from your desk). You will be happier with yourself and your work with a clean space to create.
#9: Develop a Professional Network
If you want to stand out as an intern, then you should be networking within your company. Get to know people in different departments. Go out to lunch/dinner with your associates. It’s in these professional relationships that opportunities to advance within the company present themselves. If you aren’t seeking these relationships, then you will most likely walk right past the open door(s) of opportunity.
Always keep a positive attitude. Managers will often give interns assignments that are considered “boring” as a way to test your reaction to such assignments. Take on the task with enthusiasm and don’t pout or groan over these less-than-exciting duties. Not all assignments are going to be interesting and challenging; however, how you approach “boring” assignments tells your manager how you will handle these types of assignments as a full-time employee. Always keep that smile shining.
Remembering these ten things during your internship will increase your chances of landing a full-time position afterwards, putting you among the 52%.
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