Tips

How To Turn An Internship Into A Job

Students and mentors gathered around laptop

If you’ve managed to land an internship in a field that interests you—and if that internship introduces you to a strongly appealing corporate culture—you’re likely hopeful the experience will lead to a full-time position.

 

Approaching the opportunity like an extended interview will help get you in the proper mindset. Given an internship is easier to get than a job, it makes sense to directly leverage your time as an intern and the relationships you foster during it.

 

The following tips should help steer you in the right direction.

 

Work hard, act professionally, become invaluable.

Those admonitions are deceptively tough to follow, and in practice separate the outstanding intern from the merely capable one. Keep in mind at all times the promise of your internship—it could fundamentally shape your career—and use that wide-lens view to focus your efforts.

 

Dress and behave on a professional level. Even if workers around you gripe, don’t complain about the tasks at hand. Steer clear of office politics and gossip, and use social media only if the job requires it. Don’t call in sick unless it’s totally legitimate.

 

As you finish your internship, wrap up the projects assigned to you. For those tasks you won’t be able to complete before you leave, touch base with the colleague who’ll take them over, and brief your supervisor on your progress and the work that remains to be done.

 

Network and build relationships.

Introduce yourself around the workplace. Schedule regular meetings with mentors and supervisors, keeping them fully apprised of your work. If there’s a problem, present it—along with a possible solution.

 

An important component of any internship is asking questions. Take advantage of your position: It’s understood you’re here partly to learn the ropes of a particular industry, so pick the brains of your co-workers and superiors. They’ll be impressed with your forthright desire to learn. If you finish one task and don’t have another yet assigned, take the initiative and request more work.

 

Express gratitude and follow up.

Write a note to your supervisors and your colleagues thanking them for the internship experience and all of their assistance. Send follow-up emails, and ask straight-out for a full-time job by demonstrating your hard-earned inside knowledge and suggesting where your unique strengths could benefit the organization.

 

Doing well on that “extended interview” that is an internship can pay off hugely—sometimes directly with a job. Keep your eyes on the prize!

 

Photo credit: Saad Faruque

5 Simple Steps To Ask For A Letter Of Recommendation

FivePerhaps you’ve completed a summer internship and are easing back into the school year. You’re suddenly struck with the realization that you haven’t yet asked for a letter of recommendation from the organization you interned with.  A letter is key—you’ll need it for college or job applications. It’s crucial “proof” of your experience reinforcing your resume.

 

It’s not too late to solicit that letter of recommendation. Follow these five easy steps to gracefully and effectively land a well-crafted one.

How to Get a Letter of Recommendation:

(1) Acknowledge how busy your supervisor is. The last image you want to project is one of self-absorbed entitlement; this person is taking time out of his or her busy day to do you an important favor, so acknowledge that generosity. At the same time, somebody taking on interns is obligated to provide letters of recommendation, so don’t be bashful about your request.

 

In short, be assertive—but not presumptuous.

 

(2) Offer options. Make it easy for the person to get the letter into your hands. If you’re still interning, ask for it well in advance so you can carry it home on your last day—about as easy for all involved as can be. Include your mailing address in your request no matter what to be safe.

 

(3) Ensure the letter of recommendation looks legitimate: Request that your supervisor print it on company letterhead. Also, ask that the letter be addressed “To Whom It May Concern:” so that it’s applicable in whatever situation you need it—applying for schools, jobs, or internships.

 

(4) Make sure academic interests are emphasized. You don’t want to suggest you were simply running around making copies as an intern, but instead forging practical workplace and problem-solving skills. Ask your supervisor to highlight the relevance of your internship duties to academic interests.

 

(5) Ask for a story. Encourage your supervisor to incorporate anecdotes that demonstrate your personality and abilities. This is partly to make the letter enjoyable to read; it’s also about humanizing yourself. Your letter should demonstrate you’re a real person with unique attributes—someone really worth hiring or accepting into a program.

 

Follow these straightforward tips, and you can feel more confident that a genuine, encouraging letter of recommendation is in the hands of people you’re trying to impress.

 

Photo credit: losmininos

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