In today's overcrowded job market, an internship can easily become a passport to a job. Choosing the right internship is the first step in securing a rewarding full-time job at the company of your dream.
The truth is, not every internship ends with the prospect of a job, and competition is strong when companies hire more than one intern. (Click here
to tweet this truth.)
If your internship is going great and you're passionate about what you do, it's time to think about how to turn it into a serious, full-time job. Here are top industry tips to help you launch your career.
Become part of the company
To impress your managers, blend in with other full-time employees. Make sure your outfits match the company’s dress code and that you come and go within office hours. Ditch your college habits -- don't talk about your colleagues behind their backs or act emotional. Project a professional attitude at all times.
By hiring you as an intern, the company can see whether you fit into its culture. Between the complexities of corporate organization and the lures of employer branding, it's sometimes hard to have a clear idea about a company's culture. To understand it better, observe and ask around. Don’t be afraid to ask your supervisors and colleagues questions; they’ll expect it from you.
Don't be overly confident
To make the cut, learn how to balance confidence and humility. If you're a young professional entering the job market, be aware that recruiters and managers will immediately slot you in the Millennial category
, which basically stands for entitled and lazy -- definitely not your dream employee.
Prove them wrong. Be curious and engaged. Ask questions about what you've learned and never pretend to know something you don’t. Be alert and energetic, with a notebook in your hands and ready to jot down practical tips and your own insights, which can be easily reviewed later.
Consider your learning opportunity as fun and don't label something as boring before knowing what it is. Most importantly, keep your mind open and be prepared to change your habits. An internship can be a life-changing experience -- be ready to embrace all the possibilities it’ll open for you.
Once you've finished your tasks, ask for more projects or suggest ways you could be useful to the organization. Offer your own perspective, but don't go overboard -- criticizing the company is never a good thing. Always do more than expected and let people recognize you for your work, not the amount of time you spend on social media.
If you contribute and create something of value or spot a previously overlooked issue, you’ll make a real impact and impress your supervisors
. If your presence makes a difference, you're on your way to becoming a potential full-time employee.
What to do? Identify your talents and think how they could be used at work. To be engaged and show your true potential, integrate your career goals and unique skills into your everyday activities -- it's hard, but will pay off.
Network, then network more
Entering any kind of working environment provides a great opportunity for creating and cultivating professional relationships that might prove crucial later in your career. Don't be shy and join your coworkers for lunch, company events and other social gatherings.
Forming professional relationships with colleagues will help you assess the company's culture and help you decide whether you want to join it. Don't pick and choose people to network
with -- keep in touch with both senior employees and your fellow interns. Give everyone the same amount of attention. You won't regret it.
Expand your professional circle of acquaintances by attending local meetups and other events, such as seminars, workshops or conferences, organized by people working in your industry or sector.
Say goodbye with a bang
When you've got a month of work left, schedule an appointment with your supervisor to discuss your career goals. If you haven't indicated your interest in a full-time position yet, do it now.
This is also the moment to leave a good impression -- express your appreciation for the opportunity, send handwritten thank-you
cards or emails and check in with your colleagues once in a while.
What should you do if no job is offered after your internship? Stay calm and maintain contact with your supervisor, HR personnel and other important people at the company and reiterate your interest in the position occasionally. If a spot opens, you'll be the first they think of.
Nicole Davies works at ShortCourseFinder, a website providing a simple way to find and sign up for online short courses from Australia’s top providers. Main areas of her interest are social media and the use of new technologies in classroom.