An internship is one of the quickest ways you can gain initial experience in your field. With hard work and a little bit of luck, you might even be able to turn your summer internship into a full-time gig.
Whether you’re just starting to explore careers in your field, or you think you’ve found your dream job, keep these tips in mind if you want to position yourself for an official job offer:
1. Focus on doing your best work
Don’t begin your internship with the expectation that it will turn into a full-time job. It’s better to stay focused on the present and work hard at the job you have, rather than lobbying for the job you want.
Show that you’re the kind of person that takes the initiative, completes assignments on time and pays attention to detail. Demonstrate you can do the work that is required of you – and do it well. Be a team player and volunteer to help out on new projects and assignments.
If you consistently produce good work, it will be evident that you’re capable of moving to the next level. Your supervisors will take note of your work ethic and your can-do attitude, and they’ll be more likely to put in a good word for you when opportunities arise.
2. Ask for feedback
You’re not going to succeed 100 percent of the time, and that’s okay. As an intern, your goal is to gain experience in your field and start developing some of the skills you’ll need for your career. Your supervisors know this, and they can help you be successful.
Make sure you get the most out of your internship experience by communicating regularly with your supervisor. He or she can help you understand what you’ve done well and where you can improve. Take notes for future reference, and try not to make the same mistakes twice. Conversely, make note of what you’ve done well and where your strengths lie. This can help you determine what career path you might want to pursue.
3. Accept challenging assignments
If you’re receiving more complex assignments with greater responsibility, then your supervisors likely see you as someone they can count on to get the job done. When you rise to the challenge, you show that you’re driven and eager to learn – both qualities companies look for in future employees.
By being exposed to a variety of assignments and working with different teams within an organization, you’ll also gain a better understanding of the business and begin to develop a more diverse skill set, which can help make you more qualified for future positions.
4. Network within your organization
Make an effort to get to know as many people as you can during your internship. Look for opportunities to work with individuals in different departments, and attend company-wide events to meet people you haven’t had a chance to work with yet.
As you start to build relationships with others, ask them about how they got started and what they do in their current role. By doing so, you’ll gain valuable career advice, find new mentors and show that you’re eager to learn more about the company and are interested in sticking around.
5. Ask about upcoming opportunities
If you’re looking to secure a full-time position as soon as possible, it’s important that you understand the organization’s hiring process and opportunities for advancement. You might even consider asking these questions in your interview before you take the internship.
As the last weeks of your internship approach, set a time to revisit these topics with your supervisor.
Last but not least, know that by pursuing an internship, you’re taking an important step toward your future career. If you’ve done stellar work, your supervisor or manager will be happy to write you a recommendation or serve as one of your references if a job offer isn’t in the cards.
The experience you’ve gained and the connections you’ve made throughout your internship will undoubtedly serve you well in your future job hunt!