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Thursday, 5 May 2016

10 tips to turn your internship into a rockstar career

With more interns working in London every day, it’s always a good idea to start thinking about how to outshine your competition and show your best talents. Here are some of our tips on how to turn your internship into a job offer.

Having discussed their experiences, achievements and challenges with hundreds of interns worldwide, here are 10 life-learned tricks for securing a position at your company.

Is it really that competitive?
Yes, at bigger companies the number of interns currently active can reach the mid-hundreds while only a handful of them will be hired for full time positions afterwards. The “internship funnel” has famously become the only defacto route to getting a job at a major company, and most offices are far more likely to hire previous interns than risk experimenting with a new person.

10 tips for turning your internship into a job:
  • Do your best. This may seem absolutely obvious, but the truth is when you’re moving to a buzzing new city perhaps the first time away from home, you can be easily distracted by all your new friends and the many things to try. Don’t think of your internship as just a context for your fun, do make an effort to stand out with your competence.
  • Examine the structure of your company. Knowing how different departments are related to each other and who does exactly what around you will not only help you understand the ultimate goal of your company’s work, but also your own place within the system. That way you will be doing an even more accurate -and useful- job.
  • Impress as many people as possible. Cast your net wide: your line manager may not be in a position to hire you after your internship, but someone else might be. Don’t forget to treat everyone with kindness and respect- if not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s smart to leave a good impression with everybody.
  • Get to know HR to find out which parts of the company are likely to have an opportunity available when you finish your internship.
  • Attach yourself to “key” projects so the company will want to keep you around past the end of your internship. If you are tasked with a “one-off” project, be sure to make it really memorable and try to connect it to an ongoing project as well.
  • Make yourself indispensable. Take work off of other people’s shoulders and make attempts at managing projects, but ease up on managing people as that may be considered punching above your pay grade. Prove that you are more worth keeping than the company having to train someone new up to your level again.
  • Make yourself in demand. Line up other opportunities (preferably with competitors) to give yourself a stronger negotiating position at the end of your internship.
  • Show genuine interest in the work of others. If you are at all interested in the day-to-day operations of someone else at the company, express that! Ask lots of questions and show engagement - if you’re shy, an email is a good way to break the ice with co-workers.
  • Ask for projects that reduce work for management. Think of it this way: what can you do to help your manager go home earlier? Ask for projects that will make their life easier - the easier their life is with you in it, the more they will push for you to become a permanent hire. This can go hand-in-hand with showing interest. “I see you do a lot of work with KISSmetrics - can you show me how you do that, and maybe I can take some of that off your hands?”
  • Find out what you like and excel at, and own it. The more you engage with your co-workers and find out what they do, and the more projects you take on that used to belong to others, the more easily you will find out what you are particularly good at - and what you enjoy! When you’ve found it, own it. Give an update once a week on your progress in a project that you’ve created. This makes you seem like you’re already a member of the team!

Wait, should I be making tea?

Depends on where you’re interning! In some places it’s tea, elsewhere coffee. In all honesty though, it’s not just about making drinks for people, it’s about showing a willingness to help and blend in with the work culture in a pleasant way. Follow the lead of others in the company, and if they’re kind and do little things for each other like making tea or offering sweets, then you should do the same. If it’s not that sort of office - perhaps it’s best to not begin your career there, anyway.