The job offer finally comes; maybe even with your top choice employer. So why aren’t you celebrating and signing that lease for your new apartment?
Because the offer of employment comes with a caveat. It is a paid internship for a short period of time. Or maybe the offer is for a short term “gig” with a carrot-and-stick full-time offer if you do well (of course, there is no guarantee).
Isn’t this really just a way of putting you on probation? Isn’t this a convenience from the employer so they don’t have to commit to a long term relationship, yet?
Your first instinct might be to negotiate for permanent employment. For some, however, that may not be realistic; many can’t afford to miss even the part-time or short-term opportunity. Instead, I would suggest you accept the offer (assuming it is a company that you would really like to work for) and follow these 3 suggestions to make this a positive and productive situation… and a valuable stepping stone for your career.
Treat This Like a Permanent and Full Time Job
Don’t act like you are only visiting!
Be committed. Come in early, stay late and put the maximum effort into your job. Dress professionally and look like a team member. Make sure your work represents your best effort. If you are not busy enough, ask for more work. Be a part of the team, not an extra part-time resource. Work hard to impress your peers and your supervisors.
Being invited to stay longer-term depends on this attitude!
Often, companies will encourage community outreach or have relationships established with charitable organizations where employees can volunteer their time and skills. This is a great way to get to know other employees outside those you work with directly; and to be perceived as a contributing member of the team.
Maybe the company has a recreational softball or basketball team. Even if you don’t want to participate, go to the games and be social. Show your desire to be part of the company culture!
Network, Network and Network
You are in an organization, working with colleagues who share similar professional goals. Make sure you get to know as many other employees as possible, both peers and those who are more senior. Invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
Spend time with them – have coffee, lunch and be social. Let them get to know you as a professional and as a person they enjoy working with. If you leave at the end of the assignment, ask them to recommend you on LinkedIn and ask for introductions to others they know professionally and personally.
Even if the job doesn’t turn into a full-time gig, your personal network and influence will have grown tremendously.
Yes, just when it seems like getting a job could not be much more challenging for Millennials, companies employ yet another way to make this difficult road a bit longer.
Perhaps there is a silver lining here…
You have a chance to experience working for a company in a job that may look great on a resume – and without a full commitment. If you are extended an offer of employment, you will be able to make a much more informed decision about the company, the job and the team you will be joining. This is a far less painful alternative than accepting the wrong job and having to remedy that situation.
Maybe the employer can’t commit. You can, however… and you can take full advantage of the opportunity.
About the Author: Lesley Mitler is founder of Priority Candidates, a career coaching service focused on preparing college students and twenty-something’s to get hired for that post-graduation job. Her job search expertise has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, SmartMoney, the Chicago Tribune and dozens of other publications. Lesley has appeared in interviews on NY Nightly News, CBS News, ABC, MarketWatch and Bloomberg Radio. She has recently published “The First Job Manifesto,” a guide to finding the best post-graduation job. Lesley is an alumnus of Duke University who is based in New York City but works with clients nationwide. Connect with Lesley on Twitter!