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Tips to Become an Intern-to-Hire Success

This blog post was written as part of my internship at Indiana INTERNnet and was originally published here


At Indiana INTERNnet, we love a good intern-to-hire story. We’re always on the lookout for tales of individuals around the state who were able to turn their internship into a full-time job offer. As a senior in college, I enjoy these stories on a personal level for the hope that they bring me. Throughout this summer, I’ve heard of several different people who were hired after their internship was over, and it’s made me wonder – what could I do to help make that happen? So, for both your benefit and my own, here are some tips to help all of us interns (hopefully) get hired:

Take Initiative

It is not unusual for interns to run out of things to do at work. Rather than give in to the temptation of playing on your phone or doing other non-work-related activities on your down time, find ways to be productive. If you cannot think of anything to do, you could ask your boss for more projects but be cautious about how often you do this. Do not pester your supervisor! Whenever possible, finds things to do for yourself rather than coming across as needy. Prove that you have a solid work ethic by suggesting projects to your boss rather than taking up too much of their time constantly asking them to come up with ideas.

In addition to demonstrating that you can manage your own time well, take further initiative by getting to know the company and understanding its strengths and weaknesses. An outsider’s perspective is often the best way to see issues that longtime employees may be blind to and the company will most likely be very appreciative if you point these problems out – as long as you have a proposal for how to solve them.

Connect with Your Co-Workers

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, there are several benefits to regularly socializing with your co-workers outside of work. It’s important that you’re kind and respectful at the office, too. Career development specialist Lilly Zhang emphasizes the benefits of building relationships with members of your company for two main reasons:

  1. If you regularly chat with the nicest person in the office about your accomplishments and make sure they’re aware of the work you’re doing, you’ll create an ally in that person. Zhang refers to this relationship as a ‘sponsorship’ because the person will likely end up passing along your positive stories to other people around the office.
  2. People can’t offer you a job if no ones knows that you want it. Spend time getting to know everyone and make it clear that you’re an ambitious individual who would like to stay with the company for the long haul.

Besides these two reasons, socializing with your colleagues and supervisors is just plain polite. Every interaction you have with someone at the office is an opportunity to make a lasting impression on them and show everyone that you would be a great contributor to the company culture. While it’s of course important to do your work well, you’ll be far less likely to get a job if that hard work isn’t accompanied by a friendly, enthusiastic personality.

Track Your Accomplishments

Do not rely on your supervisor to remember everything that you do over the course of your internship. The Balance suggests keeping a list of all your accomplishments and the ways that you have contributed to the company so that you have these things documented for later. That way, if the opportunity for a job comes along, you will be prepared to tell the hiring committee about the positive impact you’ve had there (and will continue to have if they hire you).

Be Aware of Your Performance

Try to develop a relationship with your boss that hinges on open communication and make it clear that you welcome their feedback. Some supervisors are naturally very forthcoming with their opinions of the work that their employees do – whether those opinions are positive or negative – but others are not. If you don’t know where you stand with your boss, it’s important to find out. Approach them and ask if the two of you could sit down to discuss your work performance. This not only shows that you care about the work you do for the company, but it will help you understand what they want from their employees and thus become a better one. The feedback you receive from those types of meetings can also help shape your list of accomplishments.

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