Whether you are looking to try and stay where you held a prior internship or want to apply your experience to a new organization, here are some key points to consider as you transition from college to the professional world.
If you have not yet had the internship or are in it now, this list is for you:
Establish Your Intent –
1. Within the first 2-3 weeks, establish your intent to stay with the company where you are interning, beyond the end date. Now, this conversation must be realistic and within reason. If the organization is just five people and there are no entry level jobs on the horizon, it may not be feasible to continue there. Instead, you would discuss your ideas with your supervisor about working in the industry and wanting to learn as much as possible.
2. Take advantage of networking, mentoring and other formal and informal means the organization has established for you to be engaged and connect with key people. If the idea of networking makes you uncomfortable, try to reframe it as two or more people having a conversation, seeing what they have in common, as well as determining how you can be an asset to each other. Yes, interns have skills and abilities that some full-time staff do not.
Exceed, Not Just Meet, Expectations –
3. Be an ideal intern: arrive early, communicate with your supervisor on a regular basis, provide stellar examples of work, dress appropriately, show enthusiasm and positivity, and talk to people respectfully. Avoiding the trap of social media/games/apps, gossip, or low quality output will show you are committed to your career and their organization.
4. Ask for feedback two-three times over the course of the internship. A few weeks in, at a mid-point, and again at the end of the internship. Be open to feedback and ways to improve. Resist being defensive, and ask for ideas on how to improve, when applicable.
Have a Plan –
5. Advocate for yourself: your abilities, your future, your intent. Having an agenda in this scenario will work to your advantage.
6. Wrap up well. In your last two weeks, be sure you have thanked everyone who you interacted with. Set up exit interviews. Collect business cards and write regularly scheduled follow up notes after you return to school or move on to the next opportunity. Maintaining relationships beyond the internship can open up new doors even if the one at the organization where you interned, winds up staying shut. Show sincerity though or your efforts will backfire.
If you already completed the internship, you still can have a direct impact on your future:
1. Reach out to your former coworkers and supervisors. Let them know you are actively searching for work and any ideas or suggestions they have are welcome. You can attach a résumé if you think it will help re-familiarize them with your strengths.
2. Tailor your résumé to each new role you are considering. If you use a generic résumé for a multitude of applications, it is likely that your name will not stand out for the right reason, or even at all!
3. Consider working for a competitor or client of your past employer. You may be able to provide a unique perspective for the new place.
4. Make sure you have a strong LinkedIn profile and it is current. Are you following companies of interest? Are you a member of groups? Are you leveraging your expertise?
Overwhelmed? Unsure of really how to do connect? Stop by the Center for Career Development and meet with a member of the career counseling staff to get you started.