Taking a proactive approach is one of a number of strategies that can help you parlay an internship into a job. Other techniques include the following:
- Be sure you want want a job with the company with which you’re interning. “I really think interning is [not only] one of the best opportunities for the employer to test drive the person, but for the person to test drive the employer,” says graduate Walter Ballard, who attained his full-time job with PriceWaterhousecoopers LLP, as a result of an internship he did during grad school. Interning gives you a chance to see if you’d enjoy working permanently for your internship company and how well you fit into the organizational culture. Once you’re convinced the employer is right for you, your enthusiasm — based on real-world, insider knowledge — will be a major plus in helping you land a full-time job there.
- Once you’ve decided you like the company culture, show you fit in. You can show your fit with with employer’s culture in many ways — from wearing attire that aligns with what your co-workers are wearing to demonstrating a work ethic that’s at the same level as regular employees.
- Work hard. Putting his nose to the grindstone was the ticket for another Cory Rhoads, who was offered a job right out of college with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) after interning there for the summer between junior and senior year. “I worked hard during the internship and completed my responsibilities,” Rhoads says. “I treated it as if it were the ‘real thing,’ and it turned out to be a good decision, as this was enough for them to see how I would handle working as one of their consultants after school.”
Working hard also means not turning up your nose at distasteful assignments that come your way, no matter how menial they seem. Be willing to do what’s needed. Don’t assume that your education equips you with so much knowledge that executing low-level projects is beneath you. Remember the guy in the old FedEx commercial who thought he was too good to prepare packages for shipping because he had an MBA? Don’t be that guy.