Internships take summer jobs and turn them up a notch. They can be a great place for college students to gain valuable experience in their chosen field. It also can be so much more.
Interns would do well to heed the advice of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement firm, in turning that internship into a job.
"Internships offer an ideal on-the-job testing ground that more and more employers rely on for identifying and recruiting entry-level workers," said John Challenger, chief executive officer.
"The problem is many interns simply show up every day, put in their hours and never give any thought about how to get the most out of their short time with the employer," he said.
Here are some tips from Challenger on turning an internship into a job upon graduation:
*Treat your internship as a real job. Always be on time and meet deadlines. Maintain a positive attitude and show that you are eager to learn and succeed by seeking out feedback to improve your performance and develop new skills.
*Take initiative and exceed expectations. Do not be afraid to voice your own ideas, offer solutions, and ask questions. Show interest in attending meetings and seek out extra work and new projects. When you go above and beyond the minimum, you demonstrate your commitment level and gain the attention of management.
*Dress according to company dress codes. By dressing professionally you reinforce the impression that you can adapt to and fit in with the company's culture.
*Keep track of your contributions and accomplishments. Keep track of the projects you worked on, your individual contributions, and the results achieved.
*Network, network, network. Developing contacts inside and outside of your department Find a mentor to teach you the ropes of the organization and offer advice on company politics.
*Ask about available entry-level positions. Ask what positions are available and express your interest in them. An employer will be more likely to consider you for a position if they know you are interested in it.
*Stay in contact. If you don't get hired for a position immediately after your internship ends, stay in touch. Check-in with your contacts and provide updates on your progress. This will help to keep you in the forefront for the employer's mind when a position opens.