Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Building a Bridge to Employment Through Internships

So you’ve landed a summer internship that aligns with your career goals and you are excited about getting real, on-the-job experience in your field. Not only is this a great opportunity to apply what you have learned in the classroom, but it could also be your foot in the door towards future employment.

Here are some tips for getting noticed by your employer and maximizing your experience:

·         Take initiative – Instead of only doing what is asked of you and then twiddling your thumbs for the rest of the day, take initiative and ask if there is anything else you could be doing after you have completed your tasks. Pay attention to the projects that are going on with other workers and think about how you might be able to contribute. Show your willingness to learn by asking to sit in on meetings or attend workshops.

·         No task is beneath you – “That’s not in my job description.” This mentality is certain to create frowns from your employer. Nothing impresses employers more than a willingness to do any menial task that contributes to the project they are working on. It also helps establish trust that you can handle whatever is given to you and that you are willing to start anywhere just to be a part of the company.

·         Show interest – Learn about the company you work in. Read about their mission and values and figure out how your department fits into bigger picture. Ask questions and show your interest in what they do. This shows employers that you are interested in them specifically and not just gaining experience for your resume.

·         Network and build relationships – Keep in mind that even if you do a great job and are the best possible intern, you still may not get hired after its completion. However, the connections you form could lead to employment down the road. Interact with co-workers, collect business cards and build your LinkedIn network.

After your internship, take time to evaluate the experience and what you learned. What did you like and not like about the position? What did you learn about yourself and the environment you want to work in? Think about what your next steps are: Do you want to continue in this area or explore other options?

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