From internship to job offer
Internships are offered by many UK organisations and, whilst officially short-term, they often lead to job offers for the very best candidates.
They are an excellent way of building up practical skills and applying what you have learned through your degree studies. They offer the chance to gain commercial experience and, if you can prove your value, they may even turn into the offer of a full-time role.
In most organisations, however, competition will be fierce and so it’s vital that you know the best ways in which to differentiate yourself from your peers and turn an internship into a permanent role.
Do your research
Learn as much as possible about the company even before your first day and commit to continuing this research and knowledge-building throughout your internship.
This knowledge will help you perform at your best by giving you an insight into the workings of the business and the details of particular projects. You may also get an idea as to how likely it is that you’ll be offered a full-time job if you take the time to look at the company’s financial situation and record of post-internship employment.
Align expectations and set goals
Speak to your manager within your first week to outline what the company expects from you and what you hope to achieve from your internship. Being clear about the skills you want to gain or improve and your ultimate goals will demonstrate how seriously you’re taking the opportunity. It will also demonstrate just how much thought you have put into your internship even before your starting date.
Demonstrate a strong work ethic
Work hard and don’t shy away from challenges. Coasting is never an option and so be prepared to show your initiative. Ask for further tasks before your work runs out, without taking on more than you can handle.
Show your professionalism
Arrive on time, don’t leave early and be prepared to work as and when required to get important jobs done. If you also dress and act appropriately, you will be well on your way to gaining a positive professional reputation.
Ask questions and take notes
Show your potential for becoming an engaged and enthusiastic employee by asking questions as an intern. This is also an excellent way in which to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible, whilst minimising mistakes and enabling you to learn more about the company that may one day offer you a job.
Record important information to prevent you having to repeat questions. Make notes of your tangible achievements which could prove important if you’re faced with a review during or at the end of your internship.
Build relationships and steer clear of gossip
Be friendly and try to engage with everyone you meet, without being over-familiar or becoming embroiled in office politics or gossip sessions.
Many employees enjoy taking on a mentoring role and so cultivate positive relationships that can allow employees to develop their own skill sets, offering you invaluable expertise, information and advice. Who knows, their positive opinion of you may even become a determining factor if a job is ultimately up for grabs.
Maintain your enthusiasm
Even if at first you do little more than make coffee and run errands, maintain an enthusiastic and positive persona. Don’t be afraid to show an interest in the work of others or ask if you can attend meetings. This shows your willingness to be involved and may open the door to far more interesting tasks.
Keep up the contact
If you have performed well, don’t be unduly disappointed if you’re not ultimately offered a job. There may be many factors involved in the lack of an offer and so, instead of sulking and skulking away, ensure that you leave on a positive note.
Keep in contact and attempt to ensure that you will be on the shortlist if future opportunities do arise or that a recommendation will be forthcoming to help you secure a position somewhere else.