Taking an internship is one of the best ways to get a job early in your career. Whether it’s your senior year of high school and you’re planning ahead, you just graduated college, or you’ve dropped out of the university system, an internship can be your best bet at getting your foot in the door.
Moreover, an internship can be your gateway into a career without a college degree or “3 years of previous job experience.” Yes, it’s true. An internship could move you right past entry-level experience, especially if you’re able to prove yourself to be extremely valuable.
The key is to make yourself so needed in your workplace that if you left there would be a gaping hole. I’ve taken two internships in my career and was able to turn both of them into full-time, real-life jobs, and you can too. Here are 7 ways to do just that.
I’m not trying to scare you away on the first point, but you will fail. You will say something stupid, bomb a project, miss a meeting, or forget to send an important email. When you do, get back up and try again. People will see that you’re tough, not timid. Trust me, it really means something.
2. Increase your luck
I can’t omit the fact that just plain-freaking-luck plays a piece in your success. The best way to increase your luck is to show up and be available for luck to find you. Don’t worry though, if you’re showing up to your internship, you’ll get lucky.
3. Never eat alone
There are entire books on this topic, but it was Bob Pritchett’s book, Fire Someone Today: And Other Surprising Tactics for Making Your Business a Success, where I was reminded to get out of my comfort zone and make sure to eat lunch with other people. The key is to make friends with your team, get to know people in other departments besides your own, and let others get to know you. It’s also called networking.
One of the best people you can eat lunch with is your manager. Take them out to lunch and ask how you’re doing. A good question would look like, “How am I performing and what would you coach me on so that I can improve?” This shows that you really care about their team and your position–they’ll like that. Expect follow up questions and be honest and transparent about where you’re at and where you want to go. When my manager asked me if I was nervous that I wouldn’t be hired on (I relocated my family for the internship), it was a great opportunity to tell him how much I loved the job and that I knew I was a great fit.
4. Get better at your job
Hustle. Read a lot and write about the people, concepts, and strategies you are learning. Start a blog and share it with everyone in your social network. That way you aren’t living a hermit life but an open honest matterful life that everyone can see.
5. Show off your work
Just do it—brag a little, let people know how awesome you are. You don’t have to be a selfish bastard, but the point is to let others see your work. If you ship it so fast that no one has the chance to see it, you’re missing out on a chance to display your awesome work. The best way to do this is ask others to collaborate on project with you or ask for feedback if you worked on it yourself.
Most companies require manager approval, but regardless, get direct feedback from your manager. They’re smart and they’ll love getting the chance to work with you. Show ‘em your stuff.
6. Get internal references
As your internship is coming to a close, try sending an email out to people that you worked with in multiple departments. Ask them to provide feedback and recommendations directly to your manager.
Getting a diverse and solid group to vouch for your character and chutzpah shows your manager that you got to know a hell of a lot a people during your internship and that for some reason, they all like you.
7. Ask for the job
Don’t be timid—one of the best moves you can make is to just freaking ask for the job. As my most recent internships was nearing it’s end, my manager was so busy that he wasn’t even thinking about moving me to a full-time, regular employee, let alone what he was going to eat for lunch. So I asked him—twice. My persistence worked because a week before that internship ended, he hired me.
Do you know someone who is taking an internship this year, or hopes to turn theirs into a full-time gig? Send this to them and let them know you care.
Awesome photo by Lightstock.
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