Using your internship to locate a full-time job

It can be challenging to navigate an internship and a full-time job search at the same time.  Some organizations are able to connect their internship program to recruiting new full-time hires, but not all organizations have the size, open opportunities, and funding available to do so.  The following tactics can help you utilize your internship to locate a full-time position.

 Keep your ears open

Listen for news of meetings, projects, initiatives, and transitions within the organization (and other organizations). You’ll learn about opportunities for networking and, if you listen, the needs of the organization and ways you can make yourself essential during the internship.

 Make yourself essential

Make them think “how did we ever manage without our intern?”  Find your niche at the organization by evaluating what skills, knowledge, and abilities you bring to the table.  Not sure? Bring it up with your supervisor and coworkers. Some skills and abilities interns contribute include, but are not limited to: a fresh perspective, computer skills, and social media marketing skills.  You may also make yourself essential by locating a need that the current staff is not able to complete due to time constraints and address it during your internship.

Treat your internship like a job interview

The headline says it all—complete tasks to the best of your ability, treat people with respect, and be open and inquisitive.  Your internship is an extended opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism, time management, orientation to detail, communication skills, and other abilities.

 Collect contact information and USE IT

What good is collecting a business card or a person’s contact information if you don’t use it?  Touch base with the professionals you meet during your internship, especially if their career path closely mirrors your interests.  Find a logical reason to contact or reconnect with someone, whether it’s during or after your internship.

Talk to people outside of your group

Networking and asking the people you work with on a daily basis is beneficial, but network with people outside of your ’group’ when the opportunity arises.  This includes people from other offices, people from another organization with a similar job function, professional organizations, community partners, and the list goes on.  Diversity in your network is good, and will help you accomplish more in your job search!

Don’t just network– nurture your relationships. 

People can tell the difference between genuine interest and being used purely for professional gain.  Networking is a bidirectional relationship for everyone involved.  Nurture your contacts by staying in touch with them and showing interest in their goals, especially if you can help them in some way.  Also, remembering the little things (e.g., their pet, latest hobby, etc.) can help you build rapport.  You might be surprised at how quickly they’re willing to help you!  Offer to treat a new connection to coffee or lunch to discuss career advice.

Ask for information and not a job.

Talk about your future plans and ask people for advice.  This will accomplish two things—you’ll receive valuable career advice from people who’ve been there, done that, and you will have spread the information that you are job searching.  Networking is as much about who knows you as much as it is who you know.  People are generally flattered when asked for advice, and they will likely pass your name on to others should the opportunity arise.  Asking for job opening information puts people on-the-spot for information they may not have and gives them the impression you’re only after one thing.

Update and polish your resume

You never know when someone will request your resume, especially after you’ve practiced networking at your internship.  Your internship is a big professional boost to your resume and experience, and you will need to revise your resume for your updated skills and abilities.  In addition, your career focus may have changed slightly since the beginning of your internship.  Revise it sooner than later, just in case the opportunity arises!  You can politely ask for your supervisor to review your resume for her/his advice on its presentation and distribution.  Work on your resume on your own time though, and not on the clock at your internship.

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