Tis’ the season for Summer internships. The competitive job market and sluggish economy make it more important than ever that you make sure that you’re on your game.
In addition, research shows that a successful internship really pays off when it comes to landing a job. A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers finds that employers made full-time job offers to nearly 65% of their interns last year.
Employment experts say the interns who have the most success when it comes to job placement take a proactive approach to the opportunity.
“Internships are more important than ever, but not all internship programs are created equal. Many employers do not have any type of strategy when it comes to utilizing and educating their interns,” says Jon Challenger, CEO of global outplacement and business coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“It is critical that young people entering an internship program take a proactive approach to managing and maximizing their experience,” he adds.
Challenger recommends the following 5 steps for maximizing an internship:
- 1. Treat your internship like a real job: Think of the internship as an extended interview. Always be on time, meet deadlines, and maintain a positive attitude. Show that you are eager to learn and always seek out feedback as well as opportunities to develop new skills.
- 2. Keep track of your contributions and accomplishments: Keep track of the projects you worked on, your individual contributions, and the results achieved. Having a record of your achievements with the company is a helpful tool in convincing a manager that you should be hired full time.
- 3. Network: Developing contacts inside and outside of your department is extremely important. Schedule lunches or meetings with company managers and executives to give them a better understanding of what you’re about and what you plan on accomplishing. Find a mentor to teach you the ropes of the organization and offer advice on company politics. The contacts you make through your internship could prove invaluable throughout your time at the organization and throughout your career.
- 4. Exceed expectations: By taking initiative you can show management what you are capable of. Do not be afraid to voice your own ideas, offer solutions, and ask questions. Show interest in attending meetings and seek out extra work and new projects.
- 5. Stay in contact: If you don’t get hired for a position immediately after your internship ends, stay in touch. Check-in with your contacts and provide updates on your progress. This will help to keep you in the forefront for the employer’s mind when a position opens.