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We’ve all heard the stories: So-and-so landed a sweet internship, impressed the bigwigs and rolled that internship up into a job offer.
If you’re hoping to take the same path, you need to stand out in a sea of interns who are after the same thing. It’s daunting, sure, but with enough professionalism and hard work—and a little networking thrown in—you can successfully turn that internship into a job offer. These tips can help:
Fake It Til’ You Make It
We’re not advocating changing who you are to land a job. What good is a great job if you can’t be yourself, right? What you should do is look and act the part. Give up the flip-flops, baseball hat and holey jeans for something a little more professional (yes, even on casual Fridays). Study the higher-ups and match their level of dress. Keep these cues in mind and wear what you normally would should you be hired for the job you want. Follow the company’s dress code and remain professional at all times—for example, don’t regale them with stories of your weekend bar-hopping, no matter how comfortable you get with your co-workers. A little decorum will serve you well here.
Network, Network, Network
When you start your internship, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself around the office. Established professionals are, for the most part, open to helping the younger generation succeed. Your in-office connections can alert you to open positions, and you may find a mentor to guide you during the beginning stages of your career.
Think of your internship as an extensive real-world exam that will show the execs if you can handle yourself in the workplace. With this in mind, go above and beyond your internship description. Have a positive attitude, stay on task and do more than what’s asked of you. Say you’re asked to create a new logo; instead of coming up with a killer design and calling it a day, write a re-branding strategy that will make it easier to introduce the company’s new image to the public. Even if you’re way off base, such initiative will impress your potential future employer. Every boss is looking for a self-starter, so be one.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Be careful with this one. You don’t want to come off as the annoying intern who asks questions that can easily be answered with a quick Google search. The questions you ask should demonstrate a genuine interest and help you become a more productive member of the team. If interning in an administrative role, don’t ask, “Where does this go?” Do ask, “How are these files organized?” Ask questions that will help you complete future tasks—it’s more productive than asking ones that only solve the current problem at hand.
Finish With Grace
Don’t get too discouraged if you aren’t offered a job once your internship ends. Many times positions will open afterward, and companies will recruit from their pool of previous interns—so always leave a great impression at the end of your internship, job offer or not. The Huffington Post suggests giving a final presentation that details what you worked on during the course of your internship. For the employees who helped you the most, write a handwritten thank you note and accompany it with a bouquet of flowers. These polite gestures will make you more memorable.
Once you’re done with your internship, continue to stay fresh in the minds of colleagues by connecting with them on LinkedIn and staying in touch throughout the year. You never know who will be the key to landing a job.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at SocialMonsters.org!
Image courtesy of gcsu.edu. Thank you!