Internship + Performance = Job

We're proud to feature another entry in our series, "How I Stopped Worrying and Got the Job", guest posts from past workshop attendees, new acquaintances and other clever job seekers who used their noggins and landed their first job.

Annie Thompson is a 2009 graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelors Degree in Communications with a Concentration in PR and Business. She is now Account & Field Coordinator with Department Zero

Internships.  Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. And let’s face it, need to turn them into a job.   Well, in this day and age it’s more like you really can’t live without them.  And the potential of a full-time position being offered has more to do with your performance and less with just timing than you may expect.

So, really, you’ve done the hardest part. Once you’ve been offered an internship, it’s important to use the confidence that gives you – someone obviously was impressed enough to tolerate you for a bit. Or at least your dad’s best friend’s older brother’s next-door neighbor pulled a string or two for you.   A foot in the door is your best asset (if you aren’t a total zero when you arrive).

Today’s internships have become an imperative in the process of job hunt, no matter what industry. Sometimes there is loads of work to be done (and by work I mean endless hours of Google research, excel spread sheeting and potentially heavy lifting) or things are slow (i.e., they don’t quite trust you yet to give you a project) and you have an opportunity to get some real job searching done.  Which means you’ll Facebook.

But, for the sake of the future, let’s pretend this is a positive and growing experience.  There are a few suggestions I would make up front in order to gain the most good.

Off the bat, this is what I say (and maybe somewhere someone else agrees with me) …

1. Ask Questions

2. Set Yourself Apart from the Pack ASAP

3. Volunteer for the Dirty Work

4. Be Ready to Learn, Their Way

5. Be Yourself

During my most recent internship with Department Zero, I made a decision from the beginning to look at the experience with eyes wide open and a mind turned sponge, ready to absorb. Truth: land myself a job in order to move out of my parent’s house. It is important to know what you want to get out of an internship.

I took it as my responsibility to volunteer for any project in order to get the most out of my time with the company. Then there was the day when things shifted – the Earth tilted, the stars aligned, somewhere a relentless prayer was answered. I was assigned to a big (big in my world) project.  Just one other in-house employee and I were to run things together. I quickly noticed it was scheduled to run longer than the rest of my internship – the golden ticket had arrived. Not only had I gained responsibilities, there was an open door to keep myself around as long as possible.

During this quick yet opportune window of time, I proved myself. I asked questions, and adopted company processes and principles as quickly as I could. I was bold.  I put myself out there and made sure I got the meeting maker to get myself in front of clients ASAP.

You are your own biggest seller. Performance coupled with effort and personality is what will get you hired.  At the end of the day, the most important lesson I could share is to be you and be known.  There is no bigger advocate to your work than you, other than your mom or blue haired grandmother, but no one really cares what they think.

Ultimately, I was offered a full-time position before the culmination of the internship. I was told I proved myself as a valuable team member and am still hanging around 9 months later in my first, real Job.

An internship is a great way to land that first job out of college and there are many ways to secure one. Learning how to source, network and interview in a way that gets you in the door are all things we cover at AfterSchool Career Workshops.  Now offering private coaching so if you want that one-on-one attention to guide you through your search send us an email at info@succeedafterschool.com

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