If there’s one thing I hear consistently, it’s that internships often aren’t as structured or as well managed as many interns would like.
Over the summer, you may have discovered that you’re in a less than perfect internship where you find yourself scrambling for things to do, or trying to figure out how you can best fit in with the rest of the team.
If so, that’s a great opportunity to test your mettle in self-leadership, get out of your comfort zone, and try on some new skill sets!
However, no matter how well your job is structured, if you are angling for a full time job offer, your internship is the perfect opportunity to convince someone to hire you. Let’s look at 10 ways to do that.
1. Treat Every Day Like a Job Interview (because it is…)
Everyday in your internship is a chance to prove “you’re the one” to your manager, so act like you want to work there. Be enthusiastic and positive. In fact, act like you already got the offer and are a full time employee. This can go a long way to showing how perfect you would be working for them.
2. Don’t Complain About Tasks or Assignments
In all jobs there are parts that are less desirable than others, no matter if you are working your dream job or a less-than-desirable internship. Don’t expect to love everything you do, and you won’t be disappointed.
Do the assignment with a smile and say “yes” when someone asks for your help.
3. Take Initiative
Being the intern in the office can be intimidating, but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and fade into the background. Make a suggestion if you see an opportunity. Pipe up with your ideas (thoughtfully) if you’re in a meeting or a conversation. Practice taking complete ownership for what you do, and how you do it.
And if you miraculously find yourself with a blank to-do list, don’t sit at your desk and check Facebook; find somebody who’s slammed and offer to help before they even ask.
4. Give Your Supervisor Something to Brag About
Make sure your supervisor knows what you are contributing to the team. Write up a daily summary of your activities, then share it with them in a conversation or email every week. You could also include a plan of action for the week ahead.
When you do this, remember wherever possible to focus on results and accomplishments, rather than just a list of tasky stuff.
Managers like to brag about their staff. If you give your supervisor the chance to brag about how he or she got the best intern of the summer, you’ll be nicely positioned as a recommended hire when they all sit down to compare interns.
5. Build Relationships with Your Co-workers
Building relationships is a core strategy in any job search, so why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to do it in your internship? Introduce yourself to people you don’t know, invite colleagues to lunch with you, and volunteer to do presentations where you might get exposure to more than just your immediate team.
This can be difficult to do. In fact, one intern told me he works in an office that is so quiet, you can literally hear a pin drop. It was hard to make small talk or have conversation with others, but that doesn’t mean he should stop. Here’s what I suggested: post a flyer inviting others to “Coffee with the intern,” and extend the invitation to the group, asking them to share their workplace wisdom and expertise. For sure, they will remember him!
Happy hours and social events after work are a good way to build relationships as well, so long as you use good judgment around alcohol and remember to actually listen when people talk to you.
6. Ask Questions
When you walk into an organization, as the “new” gal or guy people will forget you don’t know how everything’s done. They just keep motoring along. To get clarity you need to slow them down and to ask questions.
If you need to know about employee behavior and how to act in the culture, ask someone to explain it to you. Ask about dress code, demeanor with customers, personal phone calls, rules for using social media, and even where to park your car.
Getting clear will help you feel more comfortable, and boost your confidence as you learn to navigate the organization!
7. Let Them Know You Want to Work There
This may come as a surprise, but no one can read your mind. If you desire a full time position with this organization, tell your supervisor, and the people you work with.
Don’t assume that if you work hard someone will just know you want a job there. You need to tell them.
Managers LOVE to hire employees who really want the jobs they have available. Your enthusiasm about becoming a full time employee will make sure they know you really want to be there.
8. Deliver Solid Accomplishments and Track Them
It can be hard to look back at something and list out everything you did, so its important to keep track of everything from the beginning. The first day, start a Google Doc or Evernote notebook to track all the accomplishments and results you’ll create while you’re there.
Then as you are assigned projects, list them out, document what actions you took, and note the impact you had on the project. (Remember to focus on results, not just activity, and to quantify your work as much as you can.)
You can also track what relationships you are building, and how those people fit into the organization.
This is a great way to keep building your resume and LinkedIn profile content, as well.
9. Ask for Feedback
I find people who ask for feedback set themselves apart from the pack. It’s much easier (and comfortable) not to, but feedback is a gift.
If your boss doesn’t give you structured feedback, then you must sit down every couple of weeks and ask for input on how you’re doing, what you’re doing well, and what you could improve upon. Not only does this give you a way to address any weaknesses you have, but it also will make your supervisor consider what a great job you are doing!
Be courageous and ask for feedback.
10. Schedule a “Closure” Meeting
As you near the end of your internship engagement, take the initiative to plan a meeting with your supervisor to review your overall experiences and ask for her feedback.
Review your accomplishments document that you’ve been building. Restate your desire to receive an offer. Express your gratitude for the opportunity to intern there.
Give her all the evidence she needs to make you an offer you can’t refuse!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friend Lea McLeod!
About the Author: Lea McLeod is author of the Resume Coloring Book. Check it out if you are struggling with writing your resume in today’s job market. She’s also founder of the Job Success Lab so that you can GO PRO in any job! Follow her on Twitter and her blog: DegreesofTransition.com.