If you have looked for work without luck or if you are stuck in a job and need a career change, an internship can provide you with a preview into a whole new field and give you an idea of whether your skills and abilities match that career, even if you’ve already graduated from college or have yet to go to college. Whether you took the opportunity to have an internship in school or not, getting an internship at this point in your life can get you in the door of your dream job, build work experience and skills to add to your resume, and give you something fulfilling to do that can break the monotony of a job search.
For career people who want to land an internship, follow these steps:
1. Find an internship. If you have a specific company in mind that you would like to work for, see if you can intern there. If you can’t get an internship at a company you love, get an internship at a company that will help you develop the skills and experience you need to land your dream job. A reference letter from your internship and real-world experience could be just the ticket to landing the job. You need somewhere to start to build skills and a track record you can share later.
2. Determine the amount of time you can intern. As a working adult, you might not see the worth in working for someone for free and think the sacrifice is too great. At LifeBound our interns work anywhere from 10-30 hours a week, depending on the experience they want to have and how much time they have to dedicate to the company on top of their school, work, and life schedules. It can be depressing being on the job hunt day after day. Break the cycle by doing something that’s rewarding and new, while also advancing your career, interests and skills.
3. Make yourself stand out. Your internship is a job. Show off your professional skills by showing up to work on time, wearing appropriate attire, and exhibiting strong communication skills. It might sound elementary, but working in a professional setting isn’t easy for everyone. Go above and beyond by finding creative ways you can show the company you care and that you have the ability to grow with them. Are you displaying the attitude of someone who they would want on their team? Some interns lose energy for their tasks because they aren’t earning much or any money. If you think of an internship like a college class—and your internship is often as valuable if not more valuable than a college class—then you’ll see that time invested in an internship will pay dividends later in a better job with a promotion track.
4. Talk to your supervisor about career opportunities with the company. In 2010, companies offered full-time jobs to 63.3% of their interns, and hired 53.3%, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Show your interest in being hired on at the end of your internship. Even if it is an internship that wasn’t your first choice, did you get an offer from your dream job? Decide if staying on the job with the company is right for you and what your experience as a paid employee can do for your resume and future career choices.
If you are spending day in and day out looking for a job, consider breaking up your week with an internship. You’ll gain valuable skills, you’ll meet people who can help you make connections and you’ll be able to build up a series of deliverables—outcomes which show the value of what you have to offer in specific, concrete and measurable terms. This additional perspective can often open more doors for you and help you to be more confident in interviews for other positions outside of your internship.
“Get hired after an internship — even with a tattoo” http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/18/news/economy/hiring_interns_tattoos.fortune/index.htm