You landed an internship, and that means the job search is finally over.
Well, for a few months, anyway. After your internship ends, you'll be right back in the thick of it, submitting applications and setting up endless rounds of interviews. Unless you get offered a full-time position at the company you're interning with, that is. While this is not always an option, many companies prefer to promote from within, and you've already got your foot in the door.
If you're hoping to make the leap from intern to employee, here are several things to keep in mind:
Dress the part
Maybe you could get away with T-shirts at your summer job at school, but this is the real world. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to show that you're taking the internship seriously. Early on, if you're unsure of the office's dress code, aim to overdress. Then, as you become more comfortable with the expectations around the office, do your best to fit in with the office style. Stand out through your work, not through your wardrobe.
Act the part
An internship can be viewed as a long job interview. You want to continually be putting your best foot forward, but this doesn't mean you must be absolutely serious for the entirety of your internship. Your ability to mesh with the corporate culture and your immediate co-workers can be a factor in whether you'll get that full-time position. Your goal is to work there full time, so be someone with whom your co-workers like spending time.
There is a crucial difference between asking a lot of questions and asking the right questions. Asking a lot of questions might come off as fake interest or simply annoying, whereas asking the right questions shows that you have genuine interest in how things are done and want to be a productive member of the team. If there's something you want to know that could help you perform better, don't hesitate to speak up.
Know where you stand
Open communication is essential for any business relationship and is an important step in gaining full-time employment. Ask for feedback from your colleagues and boss on how you're performing and where you could be improving. Be forthright in asking about the potential for transferring to full-time status. This not only lets you know where you stand, but it also lets your employer know that you're looking for a job and are serious about staying.
You are going to make mistakes. That's part of the learning process, which is ultimately what internships are all about. What really makes interns stand out is how they recover from an error. When you make a mistake, bounce back quickly. Apologize, ask questions to be sure you fully understand what you should have done differently, and then be sure not to make the same mistake again. Employers like to see that you're willing to roll with the punches and learn from your mistakes.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.