Today’s post is written by Ritika Trikha, a writer for CareerBliss, a site dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace.
When I started my three-month internship as a content writer at CareerBliss back in April of 2011, I was ecstatic and extremely anxious (more so the latter). A million question ran through my mind:
Will I learn fast enough? Will I fit in? And how can I impress my team enough to hire me full-time?
Looking back, I didn’t entirely understand the scope of what I’d be getting into, and it’s a good thing I didn’t overthink the negative possibilities. I just dove right in and worked as hard as I could – and as confidently as possible –without knowing exactly what I was doing. That’s the purpose of internships: to learn how to get a grip on brand new things with zero experience.
My internship ended two years ago, but I’m still with CareerBliss. I was fortunate enough to become part of the team full-time upon graduation! Here’s how I did it:
1. Tell Them You Want to Be a Full-Time Hire
This is a rookie mistake I made in a previous internship I held one summer during college. Rather than being upfront about my intentions and goals, I kept my head down, powered through, and hoped they’d recognize and reward me for my contribution by offering a full-time position after I graduated.
Most employers see a lot of interns come and go – and many employers aren’t interested in hiring full-time. They’re just looking for short-term interns for temp work. During my interview for the CareerBliss internship, I told them right away that I’d love to be considered as a full-time employee, and they were open to the possibility.
2. Dress & Act Like a Full-Timer
If you want to turn your internship into a full-time job, you have to how them you’re a team player and you’re here to stay. Use words like “we” and “us.” Do as the Romans do!
If you’re the only one dressed up while everyone else is in shorts and flip flops, they’ll suspect that you’re just an interim intern who doesn’t really fit into the company culture. At my company, I participated in all the parties, activities, and celebratory lunches, which helped them see I was a good fit.
3. Never Say “I’m Just An Intern”
Don’t even think it. You’re an employee (for the interim) and the last thing your boss and coworkers want to hear is that you’re not interested in going all in for the team. A few weeks into my internship, I was waiting in line for coffee and a senior employee from another department asked me if I was a new software engineer. I felt nervous and said “oh … no — I’m just an intern.”
He smiled and said, “You’re not just an intern!”
If I had said that to my own boss, he might have gotten the wrong idea about my ambition. It’s okay if you aren’t contributing a whole lot to the team right away – it doesn’t make you insignificant. After all, everyone was a novice at one point.
4. Step Up & Speak Up
Chances are, your boss isn’t going to bombard you with a million hours of work. You will have some down time. Seize it!
Start your own passion project to show your engagement and enthusiasm with the business. For instance, have they started a Pinterest account yet? Because they probably should, considering it’s a huge conversion generator in social media. Or, maybe they could use a re-organization of their documents that are cluttering up the system. Find a problem you can solve, and propose how you’ll solve it! You’ve got fresh ideas.
5. Record All Your Accomplishments
At the beginning of your internship, you should start an Excel spreadsheet and keep track of your major achievements, contributions, and successes. This came in handy when I set up my evaluation meeting toward the end of the internship.
If you do this, you’ll be able to point to the hard facts about how you’ve proven your worth as part of the team in your brief time. Periodically, look back at this list and if you’re not happy with what you have, refer to No.4!
Ultimately, if there’s one thing to take away from my experience, it is that it’s OK if you don’t know what you’re doing at the beginning of your internship (most people don’t!) as long as you’re proactive in figuring it out.
Good luck, interns!
Have you turned an internship into a full-time job?
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