Every year, college students and recent graduates pour out of classrooms and into offices for resume-building internships. During these dress rehearsals in the working world, they learn professional skills, business etiquette, and industry best practices. The savvy ones successfully convert their internships into full-time jobs.
A 2013 survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council revealed that 69 percent of MBA interns who applied for full-time positions received offers. Rates were even higher in the consulting, finance and accounting industries. Similarly, a recent student survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 63 percent of paid interns in the class of 2012 graduated with at least one job offer in-hand. Of those who had no internship experience, only about 40 percent graduated with a job offer.
Want to be among those who walk across the stage with cap, gown, diploma and job? Here are four tips from Elynsey Price and Joe Contrino, two former interns who turned their experience into full-time employment:
- Ask Questions—Interning can be intimidating, but take advantage of the time you have around smart and experienced professionals. Asking questions demonstrates that you are engaged in the work and helps you gain valuable business perspective. Always remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question.
- Prove Your Worth—It is important to be a team player. Show your coworkers that you are dedicated and reliable. Add value whenever possible by helping others, contributing during brainstorms and generally being available and eager. Ask your employer, “How can I make your job easier and help you succeed?”
- Be Proactive—As an intern, menial tasks including research and list-building will always be a part of the job. But take initiative to learn how those projects fit into the big picture, and you’ll gain priceless insight into how the company and your managers work.
- Build Relationships—Introduce yourself to as many people in your office as you can. Maintain communication and check in periodically to grab lunch or coffee and see how things are going. Don’t be afraid to reach out to high level executives and ask how they got their start in the industry. You will probably find at least one or two who started their careers as interns.
Spending time as an intern provides an insider perspective that many job-seekers would not otherwise have. Work hard to understand the business and mission of the company. Build relationships and prove your value, and you’ll be well positioned when a full-time position opens. Good luck!