NEW YORK (MainStreet) – If you’ve managed to land a summer internship in your chosen career field, congratulations! You might not make much (or any) money, but you’ll hopefully have a great learning experience and get to put it on your résumé. Plus, if you do things right, you could turn your three-month internship into a permanent full-time job upon graduation.
“Most interns think that ideally they’ll get a job offer, or at least a letter of recommendation,” says Samantha Zupan, spokesperson for career site GlassDoor.com. “I like to position an internship as a really long interview process.”
Most interns will indeed be getting a formal job offer upon the conclusion of their internship, as a survey of employers conducted earlier this year by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 58% of interns were converted to full-time hires.
That doesn’t mean you’re a shoe-in for a job offer, though. Chances are you’re facing some tough competition, both from fellow interns and the job market at large. So can you make the most of your internship and get that coveted job offer at the end of the summer?Our career experts shared a few tips, so read on.
Ask the Right Questions
If an internship is a three-month job interview, then many rules of interviewing apply: Just as you should show curiosity and ask a lot of questions during an interview, so too should you be inquisitive during your three months of interning. But your curiosity should be genuine: If you’re just asking questions to appear curious, your supervisors and co-workers will see right through you.
“You have to be insatiable and have to have curiosity about what you’re up to,” says Zupan.
Still, she cautions that badgering employees with questions during work hours can grate on them, especially if they’re buried in work of their own and don’t have time to patiently explain the inner workings of the company.
“Employees are busy, but there are opportunities when you can catch people beyond work hours, like at the local watering hole,” she suggests. “Go to anything and everything you can. It’s a great time to have one-on-one conversations where they’re not distracted by the daily grind.”
Even if you’re not genuinely curious about something, questions can be a great way to use things to your advantage. Just as asking why they sent you to get lunch is a gentle way of challenging the tasks you’re assigned, so too can you use questions to tout your work in a tactful way.
Robin Richards, CEO of Internships.com, says that you should ask your supervisor plenty of questions when he or she assigns you a task, including when the project is expected and which quantitative benchmarks are anticipated. For instance, if you’re assigned to a data entry project, find out how many lines of data they expect you to complete.