Archive for November 2010

Juggling internship and job decisions

November 15, 2010

Lots of college seniors are looking forward to December graduation. But many of them face a dilemma—should they be sending out their resumes for internships or for jobs or for both simultaneously? If they have internships, should they continue them if possible? The PoynterOnline column, Ask the Recruiter, recently discussed the pros and cons. Here are 4 tips to help you juggle internship and job decisions:

1. Keep in mind career success and professional reputation. It’s tempting to cover all your bases by sending out resumes to the places where you want to work to advance your career but with the added insurance of also applying for internships in desirable companies just in case the jobs don’t come through in this weak economy. But be careful not to damage your professional reputation by accepting an internship and then dropping it if you get a job offer in another firm. And you may not want to spin your wheels working in a company outside of your area of interest, which would be irrelevant to your career success.

2. Decide which is the more promising avenue and go for it. If you know what job you want and with what firm, concentrate on getting that position. However, if your only opportunities are in fields not related to your career goals or in geographical locations that do not interest you, go the internship route. Apply for internships in your target company or at least in the city that you’ve selected as your new home base. Then, you can plan to transition the internship into the job that you really want. At least you’ll be in a company that could be a viable part of your career future.

3. Be selective. You may be in an unpaid internship now and want to turn it into a job, but the company says there are no openings at this time. Do you take a fulltime job in another company that doesn’t interest you, but offers you a paid position? Consider what will make you more qualified in your field. It’s better to stay in a great internship and take a part-time job to support yourself while you wait for the right job opening in the company. You may miss some other fulltime job offers, but you’ll be increasing your skills. And remember that employers value your experience. Statistics prove that an internship is the surest way to get hired.

4. Maintain connection with your internship personnel. If the company cannot continue your internship, don’t give up and or take it personally. Company policy may limit the length of internships and other interns may already be signed up. But do keep in touch with your supervisors at your past internships because you never know when an opening will occur. Check in several times a year through email, phone calls, or holiday greetings. Make sure that the internship supervisors remember you and will be interested in talking to a former intern or giving a reference when a job opens up.

Intern position to full-time offer

November 8, 2010

In an internship yet?  Just starting your search?  Either way, you’re just in time to take the long view and look at your internship not just as a few months worth of work/experience/networking, but as a way to get both feet firmly planted in the door.  You’ve heard the stats about the transition from internship to full time employment (67% of interns are hired by the companies that they intern with).

So let’s talk about how that 67% of interns seals the deal.

Treat the internship like a 3-month interview.

Think about your last interview:  you were on your game, alert for how you could make a great impression, and constantly aware of how the impression you were making.  Okay…now see if you can do that for three months.

Intern where you want to work

When picking an internship, make sure to ask yourself whether this could be a place you want to work in the long term.  There are plenty of other considerations for choosing your internship, but make sure to at least consider this question as you’re evaluating the pros and cons.  If you intern with a company you think you might want to work for after you graduate, you’re setting yourself up for a good long term offer.

Be the sponge

While in your internship, absorb everything.  Pay attention to office culture, opportunities for mentorship and advancement, tidbits of information about the company that you might not get from research, and anything else that piques your interest.  When it comes time to apply for and evaluate the company for a full time job—this information will be invaluable.

Meet people

Make it a priority to talk with your colleagues (not just fellow interns!) on a regular basis.  By getting to know the folks at the company, you’ll not only get to know more about the company, but you’ll undoubtedly build yourself a fan club of people who know and like you enough to advocate for you to be hired full time when you graduate.

Make yourself indispensable

There are plenty of people with basic transferrable skills…and then there the people who are indispensible.  These people are useful in a variety of departments, projects, roles, and responsibilities.  In order to become an indispensible part of a company, you’ll need to get to know as much about the company as possible, work to connect ideas, projects, people, and bring in new ideas and strategies.  Start slowly on this one:  it’s easy to be the new kid and start suggesting big changes without understanding the office culture or history of what’s been tried before.  But make this a goal toward the end of your internship:  in the last month—find ways to make yourself indispensible so that once you’ve finished your internship, people notice you’re gone—but wish you weren’t.


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