By: Ruby Crow
While on the hunt for internships, you can look for factors to ensure that you’ll fit in with the company culture and prime yourself to become a full-time employee. From intern to employed, here are seven things to look at before, during, and after your internship:
Before applying, research the company culture.
Some places may not have a defined company culture. Still, through research on the company website, social media pages, or information on the application, a potential intern can get an idea of the company’s values. If it’s a local business, take note of the company’s involvement in the community or the reputation of the company leaders. Take note of the amount of work being accomplished and the importance of the organization on the local, state, and industry levels.
Ask questions and take criticism with grace.
Supervisors know that mistakes will happen. Interns are often in the early stages of their careers and are looking for real-world experience. Through personal experience, I have learned that asking too many questions about an assignment is always better than not asking enough. Asking thoughtful questions brings more clarity and shows you are thorough in your work. Plus, establishing open communication with your supervisor will never hurt.
Don’t be afraid to speak up.
It’s easy for interns to stay in the background, but vocal team members will stand out. In communications and public affairs work, there are always moving parts. The team at Strategic Elements is always looking for fresh and innovative ways to approach an issue. By being engaged, interns can have a seat at the table and become appreciated as team members. Who knows? Your skillset in a specific topic could become a beneficial tool to the company.
Coming to work on time, volunteering to take on new tasks, and meeting a professional standard are ways an intern can be responsible. Being dependable by consistently meeting deadlines or taking the initiative on projects is a great way an intern can show leadership. When your supervisors or other interns depend on your work being on time and consistent, you stand out as a team player. Leaders in the company will also start to notice your potential.
Working in a professional field can initially seem intimidating, especially as an intern. But openly communicating with your supervisor and co-workers about general tasks or your needs is essential in developing a relationship. As an intern, you may find yourself occasionally overwhelmed or feeling busy. This instance is where communication is key. If you have too much on your plate and need to move tasks around to prioritize, talk with your supervisor, who will work with you and help adjust your projects. It is better to communicate early to change rather than rush to finish. Doing this will show that you are self-aware and want what is best for the company.
Network, Network, Network.
Most people think of networking as something you do when you are only on the job hunt. However, there is much more to it. You want to network with your co-workers and higher-ups frequently as an intern. Showing employees that you care to learn more about the field you are interested in, their experience, and career aspirations can make a lasting impression. That impression will be remembered as a future reference in securing a full-time position.
Most importantly, ask for the job.
Timing, like other soft skills, is an overlooked skill in the workplace. Directly asking for what you want, such as a job, promotion, or anything else, will be the easiest way to communicate to your company that you want to stick around. While this may seem daunting, the worst they can say is no, and you can gain feedback and experience to utilize in your next position.
While many of these points co-exist with one another, it’s essential that each is made with intent. Leadership, alongside the willingness to learn more about your profession, will allow you to stand out and become a valued member of your company. Internships are a great way to get comfortable accomplishing the real-world skills needed for your career and can help you find niche interests within them. Internships also supply ample opportunities to learn and find professional development in multiple work settings and may even help you find your career path. Simply put, hard work and willingness to learn will lead young professionals to a successful future.