So, you’re about to take the leap from the cozy college bubble into the wild world of work, and you’ve snagged yourself an internship in your senior year? Bravo! The next step is to turn that trial run into a full-blown, paycheck-earning gig. Throughout my career, I’ve seen many interns successfully secure a job from their internship alone – and I want you to position yourself to do the same.
1. Be the Early Bird and the Night Owl
First things first, punctuality is hotter than DHgate. Show up early, leave late, and make yourself as indispensable as Wi-Fi. Your boss should see you as the go-to gal who’s always ready to roll up her sleeves, even if it’s just to fix the jammed printer. Remember, the early bird gets the worm, but the night owl gets the job security. I’m not advocating losing yourself entirely to the daily grind, but I am encouraging you to buy into it enough that decision-makers see the effort you’re making.
2. Dress for the Job You Want, Not the Yoga Class You Love
Now, I know you’ve got style and spunk, but let’s channel that into what will get you hired. Dressing the part is half the battle won. It’s like putting on armor for battle, only your battlefield is the boardroom, and your armor is a blazer that says, “I’m the boss, even if I’m not yet.” Clothes that fit properly and a well-groomed appearance inspire confidence. You can still be an individual, just save short, tight, or low-cut for when you’re out with friends. While attitudes are changing on body modifications and untraditional hairstyles/colors, you may need to adjust to what is appropriate for where you work. I joke that I’m two levels away from pink hair being appropriate in my field.
3. Network Like You’re at a Concert
Imagine your favorite artist is playing, and you’re weaving through the crowd to get to the front row. That’s how you should network. Connect with everyone – from the receptionist to the CEO. You never know who will become an advocate to turn your internship into a job offer. So, get to know people, collect business cards like limited edition vinyl, and follow up like you’re thanking someone for getting you front-row tickets to the Eras Tour.
4. Be a Sponge – Absorb Everything
Learn everything you can, even if it seems as dull as watching paint dry. Every skill you pick up is a shiny new bauble to adorn your resume. Ask questions, take notes, and soak up knowledge like a sponge. When the time comes, you’ll know the office inside out, from the best coffee spots to the quirkiest client demands. You’re officially part of the team – you’ve acclimated to the culture and you’re thriving in it. When you learn from others, you can assimilate quicker – that’s how you seamlessly go from intern to coworker.
5. Show Initiative Like You’re Planning a Surprise Party
Don’t wait for tasks to come to you; hunt them down like you’re on a scavenger hunt for success. Propose new ideas, volunteer for projects, and treat every task like it’s the main event. Show your boss that you’re not just there to do the job; you’re there to enhance it, like adding glitter to a greeting card.
6. The Follow-Up: Not Just for Emails
After your internship, you may be headed back to school, but don’t just disappear like a ghosted Bumble date. Follow up with a heartfelt, handwritten thank you note, expressing your desire to return when you graduate. Keep in touch, provide updates on your achievements, and remind them of your shimmering presence.
7. The Magic Words: “How Can I Help?”
These four words are like the “please” and “thank you” of the professional world. They show you’re a team player ready to contribute more than just your charming personality. It’s like volunteering to help with Thanksgiving dinner – it earns you brownie points and the biggest slice of pie.
Remember, my dear, the transition from intern to employee is like going from caterpillar to butterfly – it takes time, effort, and a little bit of magic (aka hard work). But with these tips and your dazzling smarts, you’ll best position yourself for a job offer. And if you need a little extra help, the Network of enlightened Women has plenty of success stories for more inspiration.
Along with serving on the NeW advisory board, Patricia Rausch serves as the Vice President of Education at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. Leading the charge on new learning initiatives, she develops and executes career-connected educational programming and resources aimed to transform and advance the distribution workforce.