With trips to the copy machine and typical "grunt work", let's face it: the majority of internships are far from glamorous. The work you do is useful but sometimes internships are not what you expected them to be. However, there is a glimmer of hope to keep in mind: your internship may have a great prize at the end of the experience. Many interns are in an ideal position to get a full-time position with the company they are interning with. If you play your cards right, you could be looking at a great start to your successful career. That's a wonderful thought to have while you are logging mega hours with your friend the copy machine!
Now not every intern is offered a full-time job with their company, that's a known fact. How can you make yourself stand out from the crowd? There are some great ways to help turn your internship into a job. Before you know it, you'll be one of them - with your name on an I.D. card to swipe at the door.
Internship positions are no longer just for that nineteen-year old college student living on campus. There are adult interns who have returned to college after their children have grown. There are also many virtual interns working in positions with companies halfway across the country – or even the globe. The “rules” are pretty much the same no matter what type of intern you happen to be. Any intern wants to make a positive impression and have the opportunity to learn valuable information that could lead to a permanent position. An internship is simply another word for “opportunity”.
There is an old adage that states one should “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” This is very much the case for an internship position. Whether an intern is working at a Fortune 500 company or for a small company, try to really “dress the part”. To stand out and have the potential for a full-time job with this company - do your part and dress appropriately. Every industry and company is going to have its ideal standard of what "appropriate" is. A Fortune 500 company will probably consider a classic business suit your perfect look, while an up-and-coming music video company will actually want you to dress in the latest trendy clothing. Be an observer and notice what your boss and other superiors wear. This is a great tip to help you pick out the perfect work wardrobe.
Learn as Much as You Can
Being an intern often means doing things that other people pass on to you because they are busy. You may kind of resent this, wondering how they got to be the lucky ones to be "busy" while you are alphabetizing everything from 2005 for the next week. But take advantage of your current position to learn as much as you can about the company. You can learn a lot even just by handling a memo that you are passing out or by filing things. Telling people that you don't, can't or won't do things is most definitely a strike against you. Naturally if they ask you to do something illegal, you should certainly say no! But otherwise, take it all in stride and welcome this learning experience.
Get to Know Everyone
Some people that are new to the working world make a big mistake: they think that the only people to know are the ones who are in charge of things. The C.E.O, the V.P, the "big-wigs". A smart intern takes the time to get to know everyone during their internship. You will find that getting to know everyone is very important. It shows that you can get along with people and that you like to work with others. If you are up for a potential full-time job, it may be in another department. It will certainly help if you have had lunch occasionally with the people in that other department, because they will feel like they have had a chance to get to know you a bit.
Under Promise and Over Deliver
The key to success on any job is to "under promise and over deliver". Always give more than you have been asked to give, and you'll have very happy supervisors. They will know that they can rely on you to do an excellent job. This will also mean that when a special assignment comes their way, they will know exactly who they can give it to: you! Even if you are doing something very simple and basic, always give it your full attention and best effort. It will pay off in the long run.
Learn about Your Industry
No matter your internship, it will help your potential career for you to learn about your industry. So many professions have professional associations. Literally every professional association has a student level membership. This will help you think about your career for the long haul - not just the next year but the next ten years. You can attend networking events and lectures to learn more about leaders in your industry. Just think what your boss at your internship will think of you when they hear that you have joined an association or are reading a trade magazine or journal. They will be quite impressed with your proactive attitude. They will know that you really care about making an impact long-term. Just the type of person any company would want to have on board.
There are no guarantees that a company will hire its interns, but you have a great opportunity to make a terrific impression for a possible position. If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to developing your career. Even if that particular company does not hire you, they will certainly give you a stellar reference - and through networking you will have many options to help you find an alternative position. Good luck on your first job!