You’ve worked very hard in your internship. While your friends were hanging out by the pool, traveling to exotic locations or flipping burgers at the local burger joint, you’ve buckled down and been the best intern money could buy—that is, if they paid interns. You’ve been everything to everyone and you worked late, came in early and even brought in donuts for your co-workers (which you paid for with change you scraped up out of your couch). You love the work and you enjoy the people, so now it’s time to focus on turning this unpaid position into a revenue-generating career.
Employers don’t just offer internships to give back to the community. Internships are a way for an employer to see how a person conducts himself in a real work environment. Use this opportunity to your biggest advantage.
You coworkers may view you as just an intern, but do yourself a favor and don’t act like it. Be professional at all times and remain curious about processes in which you are involved. Your questions should illustrate to your employer that you want to understand how the organization works. What you don’t want is your employer to feel like you are only concerned about yourself. Your employer should know you’re an integral part of his team, not just a temporary person on the sidelines.
Don’t Fake It
If you don’t understand your assignment or your role within the organization, ask questions. Do not try to fake it. Speak up and state that you are unclear, then take the extra time and effort to develop clarity. It shows you are honest and focused on doing things right.
If you truly want a paid position with this organization, make sure everyone knows your intent. Not just your co-workers or supervisor, but everyone else in the company. Become familiar with the hiring process by becoming acquainted with the individuals in the human resource department. Ask if interns are given priority in the hiring process.
If your organization has several interns, you need to be memorable. At some point in time your supervisor will be asked if there are any interns they may want to consider for a full time position. In that moment, your supervisor needs to remember your name. Find a reason to send a gift. A unique gift sets you apart for thinking of it. Consider sending flowers, champagne and chocolates to someone who successfully completed a project or promotion. Include a thoughtful, yet memorable thank you with your name in big bold letters. Seeing it will cement your name in your supervisors mind.
Give a presentation or have a closing discussion with your supervisor regarding all the projects you participated in during your internship. Be reflective of your performance. End the presentation by pointing out what you achieved and the new skills acquired during the internship. Add these to your resume. Leave your supervisor with a copy of your new resume along with a thank you note for the opportunity. If your efforts are genuine, he won’t be able to say goodbye.