From Intern to Employee
Graduates know that internships are crucial to launching their careers. So how do you get the most out of one and land a job offer?
There is a ton of information out there about how to apply for internships and why they are important. But do you know what to do once you are there, or how to turn it into a job?
According to Dr Tajalsir Kardaman, Career Programs and Services Manager at Qatar Career Development Center, for an internship to be truly effective, it needs to be approached holistically. “Internships must be systematically envisioned. There must be a well-articulated framework for it to be successful. This means it needs clear objectives, outcomes, tasks and a clear evaluation process that is handled by the academic advisor and the company representative or coach of the student on the job,” he says.
“Additionally, I feel that the internship needs to be substantiated or complemented with a volunteering stint – maybe even in the same company, which could progress to a temporary position, and which could consequently lead to a permanent job. If a student shows initiative and proves his or her capabilities, then they can almost be sure of a permanent position,” he adds.
Here are some more tips to help you get your foot in the door and make the most of your internship experience while you are at it.
Ask for Work
Yes, really! If you find yourself sitting around with nothing to do as a new intern, then ask how you may be of service. This will not only show your employers that you have initiative and drive but will give you valuable work experience which you can add to your resume. The more work you get to do, the better, so do not be picky.
When you are an intern, any chance to do any kind of work will serve you in the long run, even if that means spending the day at the photocopy machine. Do not underestimate the value of a task this menial – it all goes toward building the right attitude, and it won’t be long before your willingness to work will lead you to bigger and more important tasks.
Make Yourself Indispensable
The key to securing a full time job is to get everyone in your office to feel like they would not know what to do without you. Start by offering to take on a small project on your own, or to fill a gap that is under-represented in the company. An example could be offering to take on the management of the company’s social media platform. If you manage to do a good job and prove your skills, you will be seen as a star! Another way to come across as indispensable is to become the office ‘go-to’ person. Do this by offering to help your colleagues with anything, even if it is outside your official intern job scope. Remember that the idea here is to show your employers that there is no one else who could do a better job.
Play the Part
As you start your internship, think about what it would be like if you were already working in the company. With this in mind, start playing the part. Be professional and remember that you aren’t hanging out with your friends anymore. Treat your colleagues with respect and be friendly – create a good impression for yourself! While you’re at work, pay attention to what is needed of you and show initiative in completing your tasks. Guess who the company will think of once a position opens up?
Meet and Mingle
You just never know where socializing with your colleagues can take you one day. Get to know them and make an effort to find out more about the company and its culture. Networking will give you the opportunity to meet people and make great contacts that could open doors for you down the line. Once you form ties with these colleagues, you can request to use them as referees in your resume. If you have made a good impression on them, it’s likely that they’d be happy to oblige.