Make the Shift from Intern to Employee

May 10, 2012 by Careerminds

Jennifer Fry
Careerminds Consultant


It’s that time of year again: graduation season. College graduates from all over will be leaving campus and heading out into the job market this spring, and while some may be lucky enough to have landed a job already, others are likely still looking. Several college students, however, have prepared themselves for the “real world” not only by taking relevant courses, but also by participating in hands-on internships in their field.
An internship program is an excellent way for students to gain experience, especially considering that many would otherwise not have work experience apart from summer jobs, and to get a foot in the door at an organization in their desired field. For some, one semester at a company as an intern can actually become years at a company as a full-time employee, and here are a few steps an intern can take to do just that.

  • Take time to meet people. Depending on the size on an organization, co-workers may be too distant or too busy to take a moment to meet and greet with the new interns. Take the initiative to introduce yourself when you (and your co-workers) have a moment to begin forming professional relationships that could help you immensely down the road.
  • Find a mentor. In addition to simply forming professional relationships with co-workers, fellow interns and supervisors, it can be incredibly helpful for a young professional to form a mentor/mentee relationship with a co-worker or supervisor to really get one-on-one, personalized lessons and advice. Moreover, having that more personal connection with someone you admire in the field will only help you succeed in the future.
  • Set your own goals. Going into your internship, know what you want to achieve for yourself and for the company. A good intern will keep him/herself busy at all times, even when the duties assigned by his/her supervisor have been completed, so if you find yourself with nothing to do, ask for something! Employers love employees who take initiative.
  • Voice your opinions. Asking for additional work is one way to show initiative. Another is to share great ideas and useful opinions. Just because you’re an intern doesn’t mean your knowledge or insights will be any less useful to the company, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Even if your idea isn’t used, you can still learn from the situation by asking why. An internship is meant to be a learning experience, after all.
  • Talk to former interns. If you can, contact the company’s previous interns and ask questions. Find out what tasks they performed, how they feel about their experience, and where they are now. This practice will help you in a number of ways. First, you’ll know what to expect; second, you’ll know what they did and how they performed to know what you can do make your efforts even better; and third, you’ll know how this internship helped them move on. Tip: If you can find a former intern who has since started working for the company, then ask them how they believe they turned their internship into a job. Nothing like getting information straight from the source.

Even if you do not wind up with a full-time position following your internship, you will absolutely go into the job market with a unique experience that has given you added knowledge applicable skills, not to mention professional connections that may be able to get you in the door at another company in the field. The key is to make the most of your semester to wind up in the best position to keep moving forward after graduation.

Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.



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