By Amari D. Pollard
One of the most important facets of one’s college experience is getting an internship to introduce them into the world of the workforce. Not only is an internship a great way to gain knowledge of one’s desired field, but it is also a great opportunity to gain a possible job offer—which is much needed in an economy with less than stellar hiring rates to say the least. So, here are a few tips to turn your internship into a much needed part-time or full-time job.
1.Dress and act the part. You must dress professionally based on your work environment and adhere to the company’s dress code. When you have important meetings, make sure to dress appropriately so your boss and colleagues can see you understand the importance of your position and the company’s. However, it is not enough to put a nice outfit and call yourself an intern, you must also act as professionally as you look. You must be punctual—give yourself room for error and always arrive to work and work related events early. You must treat everyone with both respect and professionalism, and avoid office gossip and politics. Also remember work is a time to work—not to socialize with colleagues or text or surf the internet—so make efficient use of your time, especially since you never know who is watching.
2. Network, network, network. An internship is a great way to engage with workers in the company and outside the company, so do not be shy. Show off your confidence and great communication skills by taking the initiative to introduce yourself. This is an excellent opportunity to network with everyone you meet, from janitors to other interns to full-time colleagues to the CEO—not just executives. When your making these connections, make sure to give a great first impression by exhibiting a friendly and positive attitude, because you never know what role these people may play in your future.
3. Show enthusiasm. As an intern it is inevitable that you will have to do some of the grunt work. That means making coffee or doing some filing, possibly picking up the dry-cleaning depending on the type of internship. However, no matter how small or annoying the tasks may be, you must remain enthusiastic and motivated. Go above and beyond on every task; make sure to add value to the organization in a meaningful way. Positive energy is contagious, and has the potential to rub off on your colleagues and the organization as a whole. If you hope to turn your internship into a full fledge job, maintain a positive attitude throughout the short time working and both your coworkers and employers will take note of that, thus increasing your chances of getting a job offer and the end of your internship.
4. Ask questions. Although an internship is viewed as job, it’s also a learning experience. It is important to remember you’re still a student, so take advantage of that status and ask questions—especially if you’re in need of clarification on an assignment. Employers love when interns/students ask questions because it shows their level of engagement and interest in learning as mush as possible about the industry. In turn, that also helps you, the intern, make an educated decision on whether this is the right career path for you.
5. Ask for feedback and admit to your faults. When asking questions, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback—this helps you to better understand your successes and mistakes. With regard to your mistakes, remember no one is perfect. If you make a mistake—when you make a mistake, because everyone makes a mistake—admit to it. Your boss, and your colleagues will respect you more if you own up to your mistakes and find a way to fix them. While it can be difficult to have someone critique your work, companies like to see workers eager to learn and further develop.
6. Show your loyalty to the company. There are so many various ways in which you can exhibit your loyalty to the company. Familiarize yourself with the company by do outside research to better understand the industry, the company and its message. Complete your tasks on time, maybe earlier if possible, to show you take the work given to you seriously. Make sure to spread your company’s name by speaking highly of it when talking to others.
7. Keep in touch after your internship. Before your internship ends get your colleagues contact information so you can send them thank you cards. Make sure to check in and stay in touch with them so you can continue to better develop those relationships. And if you preform well over the course of your internship, employers will think of your name when a job opens up.
Picture courtesy of http://www.seambliss.com