An Internship is a terrific way to gain industry experience and is an important milestone in anyone’s career. But landing the internship is just the first step. Securing a full-time position with the company after the internship is over is the real prize. Fortunately for students and grads, top employers like Mercedes-Benz are using internships as a great way to build a talent pipeline for full-time roles, adopting an “interview once, hire twice strategy”. We interviewed 3 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services interns who were able to achieve just that and these successful candidates were hired for full-time positions after their internships. Read on to get insider advice on how to turn your internship into a full-time position.
Seek Out Opportunities
Ana Uribe Rodriguez is a marketing graduate from Georgian College. Ana started her internship at Mercedes-Benz Financial Services on the Marketing and Communications team. By the end of her first week Ana knew she wanted to work for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. Because of her flexibility, very good work habits, and positive outlook on all opportunities, Ana got hired on full-time with the Finance and Controlling team.
“Prioritize your work” Ana advises. Often times during your internship you’ll be juggling many projects – prioritizing not only helps you stay organized, it also focuses your attention on the most important tasks to meet critical deadlines. Along with prioritizing, being a proactive team player is just as important. “Proactively find other opportunities and ways to help others” says Ana, “Be eager to go the extra mile”. By helping other coworkers or taking on extra tasks you show that you are a team player. People want to work with people who help one another.
Ana also recommends that you always “be open to learning”. Learning about other people’s tasks, mandates, and responsibilities not only gives you the big picture of what the team is doing, but it also creates organizational awareness. As an added bonus, you’ll build soft-skills such as, communication, relationship management, initiative, and individual development. The more you learn, the more you can help.
“Be open to other opportunities,” suggests Ana. Even if a job is not in your field of study or something you think you would be good at, ask questions, and if your manager agrees, give it a try. At Mercedes-Benz Financial Services there is so much more to discover than just Automotive or Finance. There are many opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge, don’t be afraid to try something new.
If Ana could relive the internship experience, she would ask more questions. Ana believes you can’t know enough about your role or about the company in general. Sometimes we are afraid that asking questions may be perceived as a lack of confidence when in fact it shows the opposite — engagement, understanding, and initiative.
Treat Your Internship As If It Was Already a Full-Time Job
From day one Jenna Trollope, a recent Commerce graduate from University of Ottawa, was treated like a valued team member. “I walked in and everyone knew my name,” she says about joining the Customer Service Team as an Intern. This experience made a lasting impression on Jenna and confirmed for her that Mercedes-Benz Financial Services was where she wanted to launch her career after her internship. Jenna is now a full-time Customer Service Representative with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
“Treat your internship like it is your full-time position already,” Jenna says. Jenna was committed, engaged, and involved during her whole internship, and it made her a “keeper” for Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. Showing up on time, having a professional approach to everything, and being engaged are great ways to help you transform your internship into a full-time position.
Leave a Lasting Impression
Jenna originally heard about an intern opportunity with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services through her personal connections. She applied, but didn’t get the initial role. Still, Jenna’s positive attitude left a lasting impression. It wasn’t long before management reached out to ask if she was interested in another role, which led to her internship. From her external network, as well as the new connections she made through interviewing, Jenna was able to land her position within Mercedes-Benz Financial Services.
“Be optimistic” Jenna says. People will want to work with you when you’re positive, understanding, and kind. A great attitude contributes to positive team morale, which is crucial to a productive team. Everyone likes to work with someone they enjoy being around.
Just as important as being positive; confidence and keeping an open mind can really make the difference. “You are more qualified than you think,” Jenna says. By listening to feedback, Jenna realized that things she saw as weaknesses were mentioned by managers as being strengths. She used to feel awkward on the phone, but her managers were so positive about her relationship management skills over the phone that it changed her outlook. By keeping an open mind and listening closely to feedback, Jenna was able to re-evaluate her skills, and find a career fit in an unexpected area.
Learn Something New
Fabiha Ahmed is a Senior Project Specialist with a degree in Business Technology Management from Ryerson University. Fabiha started her journey with Mercedes-Benz almost four years ago as a Point Of Sales Analyst Intern. By learning and acquiring new skills and information Fabiha has seen great success with Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, advancing to a senior role.
“Take your time to learn the role,” recommends Fabiha. By learning how to do things well and asking a lot of questions, you’ll build up not only your own confidence but also credibility with others. You’re able to take on more tasks without being overwhelmed and your confidence will shine through the finished product.
“Learn some unique skills and tools in the market that make you stand out” says Fabiha. By learning new methodologies and best practices in your field, you will be qualified to teach others in your organization. This also showcases your willingness to learn and desire to grow within the organization.
“Build connections by helping out others, and being collaborative” Fabiha advises. Helping others within the work environment is a great way to build strong professional connections. You earn a reputation as a knowledgeable and helpful person and, as an added bonus, others are more likely to help you when you need help.
Express where you would like to be. “You don’t necessarily have to come up with a long-term plan of where you want to be exactly, but you do need to have a short-term plan and/or a good summary of what you have done” Fabiha adds. Being able to express your interest in growth, as well as showcasing your skills allows colleagues and managers to better understand your fit in the organization. You can then focus on areas you need to improve on.
Fabiha noted that it is important to “have more presence” in your community and on-campus. Gain experience as a student by volunteering or working part-time to develop your social skills outside your area of expertise or comfort zone. This kind of real world experience helps build skills in areas such as relationship management, communication, customer service, and problem solving. Fabiha believes your university education is important, but it isn’t the only thing that will launch your career, “It’s what skill sets you learned, your personality [and] your work ethics that matter”.
Explore Your Potential
Internships are a superb way to gain industry experience and get your foot in the door of a top employer. The hands-on experience and the network you build as an intern are amazing for your career growth. Learning how to navigate an internship successfully takes work, but with the proper skills, commitment and a little luck, you could succeed in transforming your internship into a career!