I know all about that intern life. It can be difficult and stressful, especially if what you really want is to have a full-time job!
When I first joined the team at Miss Millennia Magazine four years ago, I worked as a summer intern. I loved it so much that about two weeks into the internship I knew that I wanted to stay for longer than just those few months. I didn’t know exactly how to go about turning my three-month internship into a permanent gig, but I made sure that I did the absolute best I could with every task I was given and even took on some extra projects. I wanted to impress everyone on staff. This, I hoped, would land me a permanent position at the end of the summer.
And guess what, it did!
Some of us take a temporary internship only as a resume builder—something to impress future employers to get us a job we actually want.Some use an internship to test out a job or field to see if that career is a good fit. There is nothing wrong with either of those two goals, but others look at an internship as an opportunity to get their foot in the door at a company for which they want to work full-time.
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No matter your mindset is at the beginning of your internship, you might find that you absolutely love the company you're working for. You want to work there forever. But how do you pull off starting as a temporary intern and eventually be hired for a full-time job? This is what I'm going to help you with right now.
Betsey Johnson, Bill Gates, and Marry Barra all started out as interns, and now they're some of the world's most successful people. That can be you, too!
Here are six tried-and-true methods to turn your internship into a full-time job.
I'll Walk You Through The Whole Process
1. Prove that You Belong
At first, you’ll probably feel a bit uncomfortable in your new position, and that’s ok. After a while, you should feel as though you fit right in.
To prove that you belong, you need to not only act the part, but be the role. Stick to the dress code. Be on time. Treat everyone with respect, whether you’re speaking to or about someone. Avoid the urge to check social media and text, except during your lunch break. In other words, always remain professional.
Here is a great video (which is only five minutes!) with some do's and don'ts of interning from Jackie Fern. Jackie has interned at some pretty high-power companies, so she really knows what she's talking about. In this video, she gives some great insight on ways you can prove you belong in this company starting the minute you walk through the door.
If you follow these basic rules, people will notice that you are an asset to the team, trust me.
2. Focus on Your Internship
While it’s always important to shoot for the stars, you don’t want to leave your own duties behind in the dust. Strive to impress your employer by going above and beyond, yes, but don’t stretch so far that you slack off on your current job. If you do, then others will think that you feel you are too good for your internship—in a bad way. They will also notice that you're not getting your job done, which is never a good thing.
Focus on the tasks your internship requires you to do first. If you excel at those, chances are you'll be assigned extra projects to work on. If you aren't given those extra tasks, or you're worried your hard work is going unnoticed, there's nothing wrong with speaking up! Being proactive and asking questions is a big part of being a successful intern, but more on that later.
3. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Impress your boss by excelling at your work. It doesn’t matter how small your tasks are. If you are assigned to put stamps on 200 envelopes, align the stamps perfectly. If your job is to proofread, go over the document multiple times.
This doesn’t mean you can’t make a mistake, of course, because everyone messes up. When you do make a mistake, though, own up to it and offer action steps to fix it. Then, follow through and make sure everything is done right.
Even if you don’t necessarily love your internship, working hard will help you land a job in the future. And if you do love it, you've just proved yourself to your boss.
But You Know What Else?
Not only do you need to embody those goals and mindsets, but you also need to act on them. Following through with your words, actions, and results on the projects you are assigned is crucial to impressing your boss and locking down a full-time job offer. Here are some things you need to make sure to do throughout your internship.
4. Ask Questions
Ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy! You will not annoy anyone and you won’t seem unintelligent. I promise. No one will expect you to know everything right away, and asking questions is the best way to learn new things. Your willingness to manage up and ask questions will leave a positive impression on others, especially because many interns are too nervous to ask questions because they don't want to seem unknowledgeable.
Additionally, asking questions shows that you’re eager to learn. Your boss and other employees will appreciate your enthusiasm and you will get more out of the experience by being inquisitive.
Make sure to remember the answers, though. Your boss won't be too excited if they have to answer the same question over and over again. Writing important information in a notebook is a great way to remember it. Obviously, gathering this information will make you a better asset to the company, presently and in the future.
Do you need help asking good questions? There are ways to become a better question-asker to help you learn and grow more, in addition to impressing your boss. If you want to have this skill, read Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change by Frank Sesno. You can get it on your Kindle or download it as an audiobook!
5. Network Like A Pro
Networking is one of those scary, vague adult terms that everyone says is important but no one totally understands. Don’t stress, just think of networking as making meaningful connections with those around you. Even though you’re “just an intern,” you’re allowed (and encouraged) to engage with your full-time colleagues.
Adding people on Linkedin, attending company events, and talking to co-workers during breaks are all easy ways to do this.
Not only will you learn a lot about your co-workers and the company, but others will also learn about you. This will make you memorable, as many interns are too timid to mingle with full-time employees.
Perhaps most importantly, you will learn a lot about you. Even if you don’t end up working at this company, these contacts can provide recommendations in the future.
If you want to learn some more networking tips, watch this great video by Sunny Lenarduzzi and then share your favorite one in the comments below this article!
To Top It All Off…
Ok, so you've gone into your internship every day with a mission, and you've consistently acted on it. Now your internship is nearly over, and you want to give yourself one last boost to ensure your employer knows you're serious about securing a full-time job at their company. Here are some ways you can push yourself past the finish line!
6. Be Patient
Balance out your go-getter attitude with a healthy dose of patience. You might not see results from your hard work immediately, and that's ok.
Your company might not be hiring for a full-time job immediately. However, if you leave your mark on the company and apply for a position when it's available, you'll be sure to have a leg up. Your boss might remember you and reach out to you directly about a new job opening before even taking applications. Or, if you apply to fill the position, when the hiring manager sees your name at the top of that impressive resume (that includes an internship at their company), you'll be put at the top of the pile.
Even if there is a full-time job opening available while you're interning, it might not be the perfect job or the best timing for you. You don't always want to snag a job if it's not right for you! It's also possible that your boss wants to feel out the situation and see how your internship progresses before offering you the position. So just because they aren't calling you in to take a job right away doesn't mean you aren't being considered for it.
Is patience not a virtue you possess? Then I recommend reading Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living by Allan Lokos. The book will give you useful tools and skills to be able to handle high-pressure, stressful situations such as internships and full-time job applications!
The trick about demonstrating patience in your internship is that you don't want to seem passive or disinterested in the work you're doing. You need to balance your patience with excitement and interest in the job and the company at which you're working. Which leads me to my next point…
7. Express Genuine Interest in the Full-Time Job
Your employer might be very impressed with your skills and the work you’ve done, but if they don’t think you want to be there, that full-time job offer will never come. Expressing interest can be as subtle as showing excitement when you’re assigned a new task and as obvious as telling your boss or other employees that you have greatly enjoyed your time at their company.
If your internship is coming to a close and you haven’t been offered a full-time job, it’s also ok to tell your boss that you love working there and would like to continue to do so. Ask if there are any open positions or if you could even extend your internship. It’s possible your boss never considered asking you to stay longer but would be happy to offer you a full-time job. Once you bring it up, you might get a good result!
At the end of it all…
…if you want to turn your temporary internship into a full-time job, you need to be the best you can be. Show up every day ready to work hard on the assignments and projects you're given. Network your heart out, ask questions, and build relationships in the company and the industry. Balance being patient and being a go-getter who isn't afraid to stand out in a crowd. And while you're at it, drop us a comment and share what you found the most informative or helpful from this article!
I know that if you can follow these seven guidelines, you’ll knock ’em dead from day one and make the most out of your internship. And if you want some more advice on how to rock out during your internship, I recommend reading The Ultimate Guide to Internships: 100 Steps to Get a Great Internship and Thrive in It by Eric Woodard. It goes in-depth on all the minute details of internships that you've been wondering about.
From all of us at Miss Millennia, we wish you the best of luck on turning your internship into a full-time job!
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