Interns improve their chances of landing employment by showing genuine excitement about the firm’s mission and adding value there.
college internships provide students with invaluable experience and education beyond résumé enhancement– something parents can reinforce to young jobseekers. Every intern should seek real- world experience and strive to make a great impression. To tip the scale in their favor, interns should show they’re aware of their manager’s needs and that they have (or will) develop the skills and abilities to help accomplish these goals.
Here are some tips to help interns get ahead of the game:
Evaluate an internship or job: Learn about your prospective employer’s management style by asking employees how they feel about their manager. Do they get regular feedback? Does management provide support and resources? Do they give busy work or provide hands-on chances to learn a new skill? Are there growth opportunities within the company?
Also inquire about company culture. Does management encourage creativity and innovation? Do they provide feedback and support if you need help? Are they open to your ideas when you have something constructive to add? Do employees feel included in important decisions that affect their jobs?
Your supervisor typically controls your work, salary, growth opportunities and the office atmosphere. Don’t underestimate the importance of being able to “click” with your boss.This person will either nurture your innovation and creativity or stifle it, so look for a boss (not just a company name) known to be a great leader and who will give you opportunities to gain experience. These are the jobs that will allow you to hone skills and demonstrate positive character traits. While as an intern you might not be able to get answers to all these questions, knowing that these are important things to look for in a job will help when it’s time to apply.
Start off on the right foot: Learn everything you can about the company before you interview, and refresh yourself before you start so you show genuine interest in its work and mission. Look beyond its management profile, website and Facebook page and find people who actually work (or previously worked) there to LinkedIn to connect with people there. Join your LinkedIn alumni association group and industry- related groups on LinkedIn to connect with people who work at firms that interest you. You can then request from these connections 15-minute informational interviews that could help you discern whether a job will be a great fit or potential disaster.
Convert your internship to employment: While an intern, work on developing transferable skills – skills that apply to any work setting. Examples include:
• Communication skills: expressing ideas, facilitating discussions or meetings, listening, negotiating presenting, speaking a foreign language, speaking and writing effectively.
• Research and planning skills: analysis, brainstorming, coordinating events, focusing on details, forecasting, goal setting, information gathering, organizing, problem solving and record keeping.
Companies are always ready to hire and retain top talent. Though the hard skills may vary from one firm to the next, the soft skills, which define traits for top talent, are universal: problem solving, anticipating needs, meeting deadlines, collaboration, being adaptable to change and gracefully handling failure. If you demonstrate these traits throughout your internship, you’ll create a positive impression. Being remembered for hard work, energy, problem solving, flexibility and enthusiasm is important, especially if you hope to get a recommendation or a permanent position.
Make the most of every workday and become known as a valuable team player. Get to be the go-to person – someone who jumps at the chance to solve problems. Learn to collaborate to achieve goals and enhance the group’s reputation. Understand the difference between work and school; be proactive in your networking, challenge yourself to learn new, transferable skills and work toward garnering recommendations.
Applying these strategies will help you stand out, but more importantly, gain life lessons that will help you get your foot in the door and land a full-time job.
Beth Kuhel, M.B.A., C.E.I.P., is a Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur magazine contributor, and an executive and millennial career coach. Kuhel is also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.
Follow me onTwitter at @BethKuhel and learn more at fromdiploma2dreamjob.com.