Not trying to rush anything here, but the end of summer is slowly starting to sneak up on us. If your ambitious self decided to tackle an internship this year instead of taking a trip to Cabo, you should be proud of that accomplishment. But, at this point in the program, you’re probably wondering what the next steps are. Is there a way you can get a job offer? How can you leave a lasting and positive impression? And how can you keep connections strong after leaving an internship?
These are all important questions that are probably a bit confusing, but you’ve worked too hard not to gain some professional benefits. Starting your career journey with an internship is a smart way to go, and will really help get your foot in the door. We’ve compiled a few tips on navigating the way from an internship to a full time job.
Put Out Fires
It may be a bit late in the game for this, but better late than never. Whether you have a conflict with one of your fellow interns, fell behind on a project (or two or showed up late one too many times, it’s best to address it ASAP. Have a chat with the person you’ve been butting heads with, pick up your pace and complete your late projects and your current assignments, and start showing up earlier and staying later. Solving these issues means there will be less to worry about when you talk with your manager or are looking for references.
Schedule A Meeting With Your Internship Manager
Now that you’re this far into your internship, it’s better to avoid leaving a meeting like this until the last minute. Reach out and see if the two of you can grab a coffee or chat in a meeting room for a bit. During this meeting, use your time wisely. Right off the bat, ask for feedback from your boss on your performance. This will give you a good idea as to what to focus on in the last few weeks. It’ll also make approaching job opportunities later quite a bit easier.
After discussing your strengths and areas where there’s room for improvement, it’s time to make a move toward the next steps. While it might feel awkward — or bold for your personality — don’t beat around the bush. Explain your desire to continue working for the company in a new role and directly ask him or her what potential opportunities could be opening up soon. Show interest and appreciation, no matter what there answer is. If they mention that a new role will be available soon, or that the might bring you on down the road, hold tight to that info. This is where our fourth point on following up will come in handy.
Connect With Coworkers In Person And On LinkedIn
Oftentimes, interns or entry-level employees will forget the power of having connections across all levels. Connecting with your boss is certainly helpful, but colleagues in assistant, associate and other levels that aren’t sitting in the C-suite can be incredibly beneficial to your career. These work friends might end up at your dream company and you’ll certainly want to have an “in.” You also never know who your next boss might be, so it’s best to treat everyone nicely and get to know more about them than their Slack username. Once you’ve been able to meet, work, and chat in person, be sure to follow up with a connection invite on LinkedIn.
Hand Out Thank You Notes
If the last thank you cards you wrote were for the gifts you got on your tenth birthday, it’s time to change that. With everything being digital these days, handwritten notes are just as shocking as they are appreciated. Write one to your manager and anyone else who helped mentor or guide you throughout the length of your internship. While it’s easy to whip out a thank you email, a physical card shows effort, gratitude and thoughtfulness. This is also a nice way to stand out from fellow interns and be remembered for both your hard work and consideration. Even if the thank you card goes into his or her desk and doesn’t see the light of day again, the sentiment won’t be forgotten.
Consistently Follow Up
Your efforts shouldn’t stop when your program ends. People are forgetful and get busy, so keeping yourself at the front of their mind as much as possible won’t do you any harm. A good rule of thumb is to send an email after your internship ends. Thank them again and reiterate your interest in a full-time position at the company. Then, every one or two months, check in and see how work is going or compliment them on a completed project or recent accomplishment. If you’re in the area, offer to take them for a coffee to catch up. Being present as much as possible, without overstepping boundaries, will give you a higher chance of being the first person they think of when a position opens. Even if a friend or former colleague of your manager is asking around for recommendations for hard-working employees, you’ll definitely want to be the first name out of their mouth. Little things like this will grow your relationship, even when you’re not back in the office… yet.
Lead image via Getty