How To Go From Intern To Full-Time Employment

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Given the current economic climate and job market, more and more companies are employing an intern-to-hire strategy for entry level employees.

Gone are the days when it was easy to land a job right out of college or with no experience.

Employers want to make sure that they hire the right people and don’t waste precious resources.

With an overabundance of candidates, even those with experience or graduate degrees are starting as interns.

So, you’re an intern.  Do you want the job or not?

If the answer is yes, there are some easy ways to show your employer that you are the right man or woman for the job.  If the answer is no, well, then by all means play that fifth game of ping pong right after your two hour lunch.

Be Punctual

It sounds simple, but showing up on time or, heaven forbid, early sends a good message and makes a very positive first impression.

Be Social…But Not Too Social

It’s important to show that you get along with other employees and are a match for the office environment.  However, if you interact with others too much, you may become a distraction.  You don’t need to be a part of every conversation that goes on in the office.

Don’t Be A Know It All

Even if you think you know everything, you don’t. And you better not act like you do.  Coming into the job with knowledge of the field is great, but every business operates differently.  Keep an open mind and learn how to do things their way first.  Then, if you can show them a better way to do something or improve a process, go for it.

It’s Ok Not To Know Everything

This is especially true if you are interning in an entry level position in a technical industry.  Your employer understands that you probably won’t know everything (perhaps not even anything), but you should be eager to learn as much as you can.  Extra points if you spend time away from the office in your quest for knowledge.  There is nothing worse at the end of an evaluation period than an intern that has no idea what they are doing or why they are doing it.

Little Things Matter

While not the most important factor, the little things add up.  Keep your desk or work space clean and tidy.  Help out in the kitchen if dishes are piling up.  Offer to go on a coffee run if the office runs out.  Pitching in can really endear you to your coworkers and, hopefully, your bosses.  Just don’t do everything or you may end up the de facto office janitor.  Unless you are interning to be the janitor.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions, For More Responsibility, or For Help

Often times, interns are tasked with menial busy work, are not properly managed, or sometimes even forgotten.  In other cases, they may be assigned too much work with little or no direction or with improper tools.  You shouldn’t expect to be baby sat, nor should you need to be, but it’s ok to communicate with your manager that you need more work, more direction, or help with the load.   As long as your requests are genuine (Don’t try to set the bar low for yourself by saying you are too busy when it’s obvious that you are not try to impress by asking for more work when you are swamped) a good manager should be happy to oblige.

Doing these things will not guarantee that you will make the jump from intern to full time employee, but it will definitely improve your prospects.  The rest is up to you. Now stop slacking off and get back to work, intern.

Written on 10/29/2013 by Brian Beltz. Brian Beltz has been both the intern and the guy that has to tell the intern to straighten up. He currently writes content for a San Jose law firm  and blogs at the Huffington Post.

Photo Credit: Mark Drago

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