Have you ever wanted to skip over HR?
Job seekers have to deal with human resources managers, the gatekeepers, for almost every job they apply to. It can be time consuming, and sometimes downright frustrating. Strict hiring guidelines prevent you from getting your foot in the door if you lack the necessary experience. It’s hard to know how to get a job offer when you feel like a very small fish in a gigantic sea.
But does it have to be this way?
Finding companies that will hire you on as an intern is undoubtedly far easier than securing a full-time job offer when you don’t have much work experience. What’s great, is that even very large and prestigious companies like Google and Coca-Cola offer internships.
Now, it goes without saying that having Google on your resume would be pretty great. If you work hard, you could open yourself up to the opportunity of being hired on full time. If not, you would still have great experience on your resume.
With great experience in mind, remember a few things you can do during your internship to maximize your time investment and chances of success.
Dictate your role
As an intern, you will likely be treated as if you are a regular worker. You will do the same primary tasks every day, without taking on many different responsibilities. You can change this, though.
Because you are likely not on the company’s payroll, there will be slightly more leniency towards your position and the activities you can spend time on. Take time to really think about what will help you the most in your job search, like skills that are in demand for your field.
Once you have those objectives narrowed down, you can start to implement a plan of action. Figure out who has the skills you want, and try to work with them as much as possible. Ask the company to take on a project that will showcase those desirable skills. If they say no, tell them you’ll do it on your own time and bring it in to show them.
Figuring out the skills or experience you need and going out of your way to get it will essentially allow you to dictate your role -- and more importantly, your resume.
Taking deliberate action to fill your resume with the exact experience that companies in your industry are looking for will make you appear much more valuable than those with generic experience.
Go to industry events and conferences
Why go to events? To build relationships.
Networking is how a lot of hiring is done. Companies like to hire people they trust, and who do a good job. You need to make friends with people who are going to open up these doors.
It’s not just employees of major companies who frequent big conferences -- the decision makers attend, too. If you can make a good first impression, and take an interest in those decision-makers, you will have won half the battle.
Get a few hundred business cards printed off. They should be company cards that also let the reader know of your position at the company. Make sure you’re dressed well and look presentable. Speak eloquently and again, take an interest in those friends and decision makers.
Some companies “steal” employees. If you can demonstrate your value as an intern, you may get hired by another company before your internship ends! Just make sure you understand your value proposition as an employee, and drive it home to those employers (like finding your skill and owning it, as described above).
Research target companies
The events you’ll go to often provide lists of all the companies in attendance. It may be hard to do research on every company, so make a list of your top three companies and focus on building relationships with the people who work there.
Use your elevator pitch to find interview opportunities. Spend time with the companies you researched and express your desire to find an exciting full-time position.
These are simple tactics that, when put into action, have big results. If you don’t get hired by another company at the conclusion of your internship, your initiative will contribute to a more valuable image at the company you interned with.
Have you found a job using experience from an internship? If so, did you use any of these tactics?
Connor Ondriska is the CEO & Founder of Jobly, a job searching site that is dramatically reducing the time it takes for people to find work, and for employers to hire.