How to Turn your Internship into a Career

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Did you know that Bill Gates was a Congressional Page during his junior year of high school?

It’s totally true—some of the most successful people in the world started off as interns. Despite being below an entry-level position, an internship is a great way to get to know an organization. If you do well enough, you might even be hired full-time once you’re done! Here are some simple, straightforward tips to help you make this happen.

Ask a Ton of Questions

If you have a curious mind, it’s the perfect opportunity to expand your industry knowledge. Fortune Magazine suggests the best interns will always ask a lot of questions. When you’re an intern, the work you’re doing may seem unfamiliar to you. However, this is the perfect opportunity to learn as much as you can.

One thing that I noticed while interning (and even at work!) is lingo filled with acronyms and new terminology that is sometimes hard to keep up with. If you’re unsure of a term during a conversation, write it down and ask your supervisor or coworker for clarification.

This will allow you to pick up new terminology that will help you complete your work tasks. The same goes for processes — if you are uncertain about how something is done, ask!

Present New Ideas

Aside from completing duties that are assigned to you, it is never a bad idea to offer new ideas for potential projects. It’ll show your supervisor how capable and eager you are to be a part of the company full-time. For example, if you’re interning at a publication, why not write your own content?

An additional positive to presenting your ideas is that it gives you the chance to learn about the feasibility of a project. For example, if you want to implement a new marketing plan, what would it cost, who is the target market, what are the barriers? These are the kinds of questions that help you understand how to create more realistic, doable strategies for the future.

Schedule Meetings with your Superiors

Regardless of the size of a company, it’s likely a job opportunity will be available at one point or another. Now that you’ve worked on a few projects and gotten to know your supervisors, see if you can find some time with them to discuss career paths and job openings. As a current employee, you already have the upper hand and this is your chance to build on it and make yourself known to managers who will do the hiring.

Use your company’s career site

Every so often, take a look at your company’s career site for job postings. Go through the job description and dissect the requirements of the job and find ways to leverage your skills to make yourself the perfect fit.

For example, if the job requires strong writing skills, what can you do within the company to show you can write? If it’s asking for analytical skills or tech knowledge, what can you do to display that?

Also, don’t be afraid to speak to the hiring manager or your HR department to discover more about a role. It can go a long way in helping you see if you’re a good fit along with how to better present yourself as the right candidate.

Stay Engaged

It’s very common in an internship to work on a variety tasks that aren’t directly related to your field. Regardless, always look for ways to be informed on how they work and why they’re important. They’re a key opportunity to learn new things and can significantly add to what you already know.

Plus, don’t squander your free time! Use the blank spaces in your schedule to create your own work. It’ll keep you busy and give you the chance to show your team your extra interests and abilities. For example, volunteer to contribute to your company blog or help your coworker prescreen resumes. Identify what areas of the business can use some support and see where it takes you!

Just Apply

So you’ve impressed your managers and they’re encouraging you to try out for the position. Congratulations! Now it’s up to you to step up to the challenge and apply.

Putting your name into the official pool of candidates is the best way to demonstrate you’re serious about the job and therefore increase your chances of getting an interview. Whether the job posting is internal or external, a fair interview process is standard and helps the employer get to know you. Of course, you might be competing against some stellar candidates, but if you don’t land the job you might be a perfect fit for another position that isn’t yet open. If you use your internship wisely though, the successful one might be you!

It can be hard to picture yourself as a full-time hire when you’re just an intern. Don’t be discouraged though — an internship is a golden opportunity to prepare yourself for the right role.

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