When you think about your professional future what comes to mind – a job you love at a great company, a snazzy corner office or just the financial security that comes along with a full-time position? Well, no matter what your career aspirations may be, one thing is for certain, you have to start somewhere. For many people, internships are the best place to begin.
I like to think of internships as the foundation for a successful career because they provide useful work experience, skills and professional connections. Think of it this way – an internship is your opportunity to test drive a profession before making the commitment to a full-time position. For employers, internships are like an extension to your interview, they give them the opportunity to see what kind of worker you are and if you are a right-fit for their company.
I can go on all day telling you how internships are super valuable and necessary but let's face it, internships are just the building blocks to what you really want, a full-time job. Instead, I'm going to share with you a few/the secrets behind turning your internship into the real deal.
Act the part--First thing’s first, whether you're working at a company as an intern or a full-time employee, you always want to act the part. It’s important that you hold yourself to same standards as the other employees, this will show your employer that you're serious about your position and will make it easier for them to see you as a full timer.
Don't be afraid--Starting any new job can be intimidating, especially if you are starting out as the low worker on the totem pole. The most important thing to remember is that as an intern you're there to learn, so don't be afraid to ask questions, even if they sound silly to you.
Take initiative--Show your employer you want to be involved by volunteering for projects rather than waiting for things to be assigned to you. One of the perks of being an intern is that you often have the option to learn and gain as much experience as you want. Take the advantage of the opportunities you have and be assertive when the chance to work on a new project comes up. Also, don't be afraid to pitch some ideas of your own, bosses love when you take initiative.
Establish goals--One of the most important things you can do over the course of your internship is set goals for yourself and share them with your supervisor. By setting goals you give yourself something to work towards, because before you know it your awesome internship will be coming to a close and you'll want to have something to show for all of your hard work. Your goals will show your boss how motivated you are and give them a way to hold you accountable.
Network--Like jobs, internships are great for meeting professionals in your field. It's important for you to get to know your coworkers because often the people you meet working as an intern can become quite valuable to your professional future. Networking can help you acquire references, find a mentor and most importantly, open doors to new job opportunities. As an intern you’ve got to get up from your desk and make connections with your fellow coworkers because when the time comes to decide whether or not your company wants to offer you a full-time position, these people may help make the decision and you don't want to be that intern no one can remember.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Okay, all of this sounds great but how do you know I am going get a job out of completing this internship?” Well, as someone who has had many internships I can speak to the impact they can have on a growing career. Internships give you all of the tools you need to develop a career, all you have to add is hard work, a positive attitude and a passion for what you do. With the help of these tips I recently made the transition from intern to full timer.