Young man on his internship.

Internships are fantastic opportunities to learn, grow, and network. It’s a great way to get experience in your field, and build your skill set. However, many young professionals and recent grads approach internships for one reason- getting hired. Ironically, if this is all you are thinking about, it’s not very likely for you to be brought on full time. It’s very important to approach the internship in a certain way if you want to be considered to be hired. We’ll discuss what the best mindset is along with some advice below.

Frame Your Thinking

Your success in an internship is heavily influenced by how you approach it. Many interns make the mistake of viewing it as an internship and not a job. While they are certainly different, you should be treating this like a job. Dress professionally, arrive on time, and do your work. For the time you are there, you are an employee of that company, and should treat it as such, even if the position is unpaid.

From a financial standpoint, unpaid internships can be incredibly frustrating. However, you should try to get beyond the monetary mindset. Currently, the job market expects most young professionals to have at least a year of experience under their belt. So instead of fixating on not receiving a paycheck, instead focus on being paid in experience. Once you finish your internship, that experience is currency that gives you an edge when you continue your job search.

Be a SuperIntern

Most interns understand the importance of doing good work while they’re in the role. The value of an internship not only in the pay and experience, but also in the positive recommendation from a supervisor. In most cases, an internship represents the first time a young professional works in their field. For this reason, that recommendation is extremely valuable. On that basis alone, you should be incredibly driven to do a great job. However, if you want to try and be brought on full time, you’ll have to go above and beyond.

When you start working, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Nobody there is expecting you to understand everything on day one. Inquisitiveness will be rewarded with knowledge and understanding. Also, try and take on extra projects and work when you can. Everyone is expecting that you do your job to it’s fullest extent. What really will impress your coworkers is finding success in areas that aren’t on the page of the job description. Learn new skills, have new experiences, and figure out how you work best. When the length of your assignment ends, you want them to miss you. In the best case scenario, you should be an integral team member by the end of your internship.

Understanding People & Culture

Once you have a strong understanding of your own job function and responsibilities, you should focus more on the who, why, and how of the company. Find out what the ultimate goal of the company is, and align yourself with that mission. Also, figure out who plays what role at the company. This is a good time to figure out who may be a helpful ally in the future. You should also try and understand the company culture. This isn’t likely something that will be explained outright, unless it is incredibly unique. Try and figure out small details of how things run, how people behave, and adapt so you fit well into the company culture.

It’s important to understand the culture, because that will allow you to better form connections and grow your network. Get to know people who may have skills you would like to possess in the future, or anyone who you think could provide some insightful advice. The networking opportunities are arguably one of the most important benefits. These people may keep you in mind for a job in the future, or provide valuable advice.

Lastly, you should try and get some honest feedback at the end of your assignment. If there is a formal closing review, you should prepare for it. If not, seek out your supervisor throughout the assignment, and ask for advice. It’s valuable for your future to understand where you’re strong as an employee, and where you may need to improve in the future. Get feedback when you can, and genuinely thank anyone who shares it with you. We hope this advice helps you land a full time position from an internship!