10 Tips on How to Turn your Internship into a Job
As a lecturer, mentor and founder of an organisation called Let’s Talk Fashion Business which is a fashion education support network, this is a topic I find myself speaking on near enough every week. So I thought it would be a great opportunity to write about how to turn your internship into a real job!
1. Build Working Relationships and Get Along with Everyone
When I say everyone I mean everyone. Develop a strong working relationship not only with your manager (which is very important) but also with the assistants, chances are they are most likely to put in a good word for you. I speak from experience, and I’m certain if you were working in a company and had an intern joining, you would expect and also appreciate them engaging with you.
2. Find a Mentor
I’m a big supporter of mentors, I always recommend that people have mentors no matter what stage they are in their career, we can all learn from someone. However, in this case not only is finding a mentor whilst interning strategic, it’s invaluable! Find someone who started out their career interning or working as an assistant within the company (or in a similar role at another company) and has gone on to work their way up to management level. They will be able to give you honest tips and advice on what to do and what not to do, useful resources, how to conduct yourself, instructions on how to get the most out of the internship and will be able to answer any other queries you may have.
3. Show Initiative
Don’t just wait for opportunities, create them! Your manager will most likely be very busy and it may be hard for them to constantly check in to see if a task has been completed. This is where you approach your manager and ask what else needs to be done or use your own initiative and create a project for yourself. An example is when I interned for a fashion magazine on my first day I noticed that the fashion wardrobe needed to be re-organised. After a few weeks of interning the workload died down and I finally found a chance to begin my new project which I had my eyes set on ‘Revamp Fashion Wardrobe’. I threw away unwanted and old items, fixed objects, labelled items and put them in order, created sections for different products and once I was done I created a mini manual for other interns who would follow after me to use, this was to make their job easier. The whole department was in shock, thankful and impressed, I remember the fashion editor saying to me “we needed this done desperately but had no time to do it”. After I had finished my internship we kept in contact and she invited me work with her on special projects, where I had the chance to learn so much more and meet celebrities, influencers and artists! This was very rewarding for a 17 year old fashion student!
4. Be a Team Player
Many interns have the attitude that they are there to only please the boss. Now of course that is true, nonetheless you must remember that you have a responsibility to grow the business whilst working there and this can only be done through collaborating and working as a team. Ask around and see if anyone needs help, these are things that people don’t forget, after all if you really want to work in this company these will be your colleagues.
5. Act Like an Employee Not an Intern
Take off the intern hat once you begin your role. It’s pretty simple, you don’t want to be addressed as “just the intern” give people a reason to remember you and call you by your name. Learn the culture of the company, dress the part, and most importantly understand the rules and guidelines. By doing this, it will help you to avoid any incidents occurring which could have a negative impact on your time being working there.
6. Ask Questions
If you don’t understand something, ask. Don’t feel embarrassed or scared that you may come across as being “unintelligent”, honestly it's all in your head. The worst thing that can happen is being asked if you’ve completed a task which hasn’t been done, simply because you didn’t understand what was asked. You’ll find that your manager won’t be annoyed at you for not completing the task, but rather annoyed that you didn’t ask for guidance.
7. Be Punctual
You’ve most likely heard the phrase “if you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late”. Public transport isn’t always reliable and rush hour can be daunting so it’s incredibly important that you plan and catch the “earlier bus/train” as me and my colleagues like to call it. Being punctual gives a good impression, it shows your manager and co-workers that you are professional, dedicated and serious about the role! You’re most likely to be given more responsibility, as punctuality screams reliability. No one wants to hire someone who they know they can’t depend on and are unsure if they will turn up for work or make deadlines. It’s also worth noting that punctuality actually creates productivity in the workplace!
8. Create a list
Prior to starting the internship ask your manager what key things need to be done. These things do not have to be related to the job role itself, but maybe their filing system needs reorganising or it could be that the blog needs updating. Add all these to a list to work on during your internship, this point is linked with number 3 regarding showing initiative. At the beginning of the week create a to-do list of what to do every day and set times to ensure you meet deadlines. You may even need to stay behind for just 30 minutes at the end of the day to make sure that the tasks are complete.
9. Set Goals
Goal setting is incredibly vital! Setting goals can vary from wanting to expand networking to become confident in public speaking, learning how to negotiate and more. Doing this will strengthen your personal brand, encourage you to learn more, develop your knowledge and gain more skills.
10. Do Your Best
When given a task do your very best at it, you must exceed people’s expectations. Whether the job is little and at times it can get tiring, but you must put in the hard work to ensure you stand out and make a difference. Working hard does not mean picking up heavy boxes and moving them around, it could be simple things such as organising cabinets, writing up meeting minutes in a clear and concise way. It shows your drive and your work ethic, you must give your manager a reason to consider hiring you since this is the end goal.