Every recent college graduate Googling the term “internship” is in for a rude awakening this summer. The reason? Searches for the popular term will result in information about the new movie starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson titled The Internship. It’s hard to know if today’s college graduate actually looks past the first page of Google, but a recent web search for The Internship pulled up nothing but news, trailers and reviews of what IMDb calls a movie about “two salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital age find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment.”
While the movie certainly does look like it could be a success, what today’s job seekers are looking for is information and guidance on how to best secure a summer internship. The reality is, if you are looking for a summer internship at the end of May or start of June, it’s probably too late. But it’s never too late to try and advance your career, whether you are in college or recently graduated. That being said, here are some real-world internship tips that can help people besides Vaughn and Wilson, and those who aren’t working at Google this summer. These tips are courtesy of global outplacement and business coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc:
Treat your internship as a real job.
The best way to prove you are qualified for a permanent position is through action. Think of your internship as a trial period or extended interview for obtaining the position you desire. Always be on time and meet deadlines. Maintain a positive attitude and show that you are eager to learn and succeed by seeking out feedback to improve your performance and develop new skills.
Take initiative and exceed expectations.
By taking initiative you can show management what you are capable of. Do not be afraid to voice your own ideas, offer solutions, and ask questions. Show interest in attending meetings and seek out extra work and new projects. When you go above and beyond the minimum, you demonstrate your commitment level and gain the attention of management.
Dress according to company dress codes.
While you want to stand out from the pack, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself for the wrong reasons. By dressing professionally you reinforce the impression that you can adapt to and fit in with the company’s culture.
Keep track of your contributions and accomplishments.
Keep track of the projects you worked on, your individual contributions, and the results achieved. Having a tangible record of your achievements with the company is a helpful tool in convincing a manager why you should be hired full time.
Network, network, network.
Developing contacts inside and outside of your department is extremely important. Schedule lunches or meetings with company managers and executives to give them a better understanding of what you’re about and what you plan on accomplishing. Find a mentor to teach you the ropes of the organization and offer advice on company politics. The contacts you make through your internship could prove invaluable throughout your time at the organization and throughout your career.
Ask about available entry-level positions.
Let your employer know that you would like a job with that particular organization. Ask about what positions are available and express your interest in them. An employer will be more likely to consider you for a position if they know you are interested in it.
Stay in contact.
If you don’t get hired for a position immediately after your internship ends, stay in touch. Check-in with your contacts and provide updates on your progress. This will help to keep you in the forefront for the employer’s mind when a position opens.
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How college graduates can impress employers.