Before I graduated college, I held an internship with a business incubator at California State University, Fresno, as its public relations specialist. The Lyles Center taught me quite a bit about one’s stereotypical internship — trust me, an internship isn’t necessarily just all about stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.
Rather, an internship can be whatever it is you make it out to be.
Am I still working with the Lyles Center? No.
Did I find a job thanks to the Lyles Center? Yes.
There are a few things you should know/do, in order to increase your chances of finding employment after (or during) that internship:
- Say Hello
Anyone else familiar with that awkward silence when walking past somebody and you both stare off into the distance, look at your phone or at your hand–anywhere BUT the person about to walk past you?
Don’t do that.
When you pass by somebody –the mail person, your boss, the company’s CEO– just take two seconds to say “Hello.” It will immediately do three things: 1) Ease the awkwardness, 2) Potentially brighten up your day (or there’s) because you didn’t ignore one another, and 3) Make you a memorable person.
After you greet that other person with a simple ‘hello,’ he or she will be sure to remember you and would be much more willing to keep an intern who is personable rather than one who looks at his or her hand to avoid acknowledgement with others!
Be involved in the company you’re interning with. Do they have a ‘party planning committee’? Join it. Do they hold regular company meetings? Ask questions. Give suggestions.
Businesses don’t simply want an intern to do work for them–they want an intern who will invest with them and help the company grow in new ways.
Even if you’re in a meeting and you simply say “Yes, I agree with the new policy because…” you will be noticed by people in the office who may not have noticed you before. Standing out to a company can be very helpful for you in the future.
- Be Willing
If you’ve been to many interviews (or even just a couple), this question will usually arise: “Tell us about yourself.” It’s the dreaded question many of us don’t quite know how to properly answer. One of things that you can’t go wrong in saying is that you are willing to do anything for the company.
Companies want to hire employees that are willing to partake in anything and willing to take on extra tasks (but also willing to speak up if you can’t make a deadline).
This trait can take a multitude of levels.
Remember the Lyles Center that I worked for? There was a side project I did at Fresno State for “Squirrel Appreciation Week” where I dressed up as a squirrel. Did that make me memorable? You bet it did. Among everyone in the office, I was the only one willing to dress in the costume, and among everyone in the office, I was one of the only employees who everybody knew.
I’m not saying you have to dress as the company mascot–I’m saying that it is your willingness as an employee that will help you attain a job.
People who tend to get the full-time job offers are those who are in it for the long haul. People who will stay the extra hours in the office to finish up a report and complete a presentation are the people who are most likely to be looked at and considered first when hiring season commences.
Keep up with your former job contacts, even if it’s been months after your internship has ended. Lend a hand of projects or events that the company might be doing (even if your internship is over).
Don’t wait for offers to come to you — go to them.
If you remember nothing else, remember this — With persistence, you can make things happen.