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Ways to Turn Your Internship into a Career

An internship is the stepping stone between your student life and a new career. A rare chance to taste-test the profession you're interested in, without actually committing to the industry. In essence, interns have the opportunity to take a 'low risk' approach and get their foot in the door.
Whether you’re fresh out of a short course, degree or apprenticeship training, it’s crucial that your internship offers valuable insight and knowledge into your industry. A good program will enable you to be present in meetings or broaden your responsibilities. The best program will encourage you to actively seek both.

If you’re ready to transform your internship into your dream job offer, check out these essential tips.
Turn Your Internship into Career

Manage Your Time Effectively

Try not to burn yourself out in your new position. The pressure to perform to a completely unfamiliar standard can be enough to make the best of us nervous. It’s key that you can manage your workflow appropriately. Even the intern needs a break sometimes!

If you have a lot of work to get through on a tight deadline, it pays to discuss the realistic expectation with your manager. This demonstrates proactive thinking and, in the long-term, a strong grasp of work-life balance. There’s a big difference between going the extra mile and running yourself into the ground.

Stay Determined to Succeed

As an intern, you may be presented with a situation that challenges your confidence. A positive outlook and strong work ethic are invaluable qualities that will encourage respect from your manager. While internships are not renowned for their prestige, perseverance will be your best friend when it comes to maintaining professionalism.

Turn up on your first day with an open mind and determined attitude, and every day after. Keeping up your enthusiasm for each opportunity will show your colleagues that you take a keen interest in the success of your new role.

Be Accountable For Every Task

Raising your hand to claim a success story is easy. But what about accepting the blame for a mistake or failure? If you aren’t happy to shoulder responsibility for all of your actions, it will be difficult for your colleagues to take you seriously.

Understanding the scope of your position can be difficult in some cases. You work alongside other staff, but aren’t under any contract. This can lead many interns to wonder just how important the work really is. The best way to make your work have impact, is to treat it that way yourself.

Decide If This is the Right Fit

If the culture at your internship isn’t the right fit for you, this is the best way to find out. Despite your best efforts, sometimes choosing to leave on good terms is the better approach. As an intern, it can feel as though you have no power, but understand you have the right to walk away at any point.

Trust your gut instinct and if, however, you think this could be your dream job, then secure the opportunity for yourself! Ask about the position and never assume that your manager is aware of your ambition. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Start Making Your Own Calls

Start with small steps and work your way up until you feel confident enough to make a contribution. Introduce yourself to your new team members and raise your hand if you don’t understand something. It’s always better to ask a silly question than make an even sillier mistake.

Take control of your position by taking your own actions, independently and with a willingness to put yourself out there. These are big ticks in the eyes of a recruiter! It will also help you to stand out for all of the right reasons if there are other interns competing for the job.

If you don’t feel confident making any calls just yet, start by becoming informed. Enrol in the short course, conduct your own research online or speak with other professionals in the field. Extra Tips:

- Make sure that your internship is ethical and you aren’t taken advantage of, no matter how great the opportunity seems, this is illegal and not good for your health in the long run.

- Rejection is painful, but try not to burn your bridges. Remain professional and leave with a great reference, which could lead you to another job offer.

- Keep a diary that details your day-to-day tasks so that you can provide a comprehensive explanation on your resume.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 22nd January 2017.

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