This is the first of our new internship coordinator/employer blogging series! Get excited to hear from several more internship coordinators as the weeks go on! Our first post is written by Jenni, the internship coordinator at CollegeCandy.com. If you have questions for Jenni - please comment on her blog! Enjoy!
How to go from intern to employee
Here’s a little insider knowledge. Hiring new employees is super annoying. Unless the company has an HR department, hiring usually means taking the time to post ads, read applications (90% of which are irrelevant and full of typos), conduct interviews, ask the same questions over and over, and send out depressing “thanks for applying, but we went with someone else emails.” And that’s not even getting into the process of training a new employee.
So what’s a busy boss to do? Hire a former intern! There’s nothing easier than reaching out to an intern who knows her way around the office, understanda the office environment, and doesn’t have to be taught the basics.
How do YOU go from intern to employee? Follow these tips.
1. Always do your best work.
No matter how menial the task or pointless the assignment, do your best possible work. Never halfass a project because you think it doesn’t matter. If someone assigned it to you, chances are that she thinks it’s an important project. It’s not up to you to decide whether it’s worthy of your time. You’re an intern. Your job is to do all the work that no one else wants to do — and to do it with a smile. If you do it well, there’s a big chance you’ll get more fun and more important assignments down the road. Mess up a simple spreadsheet and it’s unlikely that you’ll be trusted to do a cooler, more important project.
2. Be professional. No, be SUPER professional.
Arrive five minutes early, leave five minutes late. Avoid staring at the clock. Don’t take long lunch breaks. Put your phone in your bag and don’t take it out until the end of the day. Stay off Facebook. Wear appropriate clothing. Take your clothing lead from the most executive person there.
I know, I know, everyone else in the office is breaking the rules — that doesn’t matter. Be the MOST professional person there. Trust me, people will notice!
3. Make your boss’s life easier.
Bosses hire interns to make their lives easier. Sure they also want to give interns experience, life advice and chance to explore their career options -- but they also want their lives to be easier. Feel your boss out in the beginning of your internship. Does she drink coffee every morning? Offer to get it for her. Does he always like to start the day with you updating the company Twitter? Do it without being asked. Does she prefer her packets to be stapled in the right hand corner in a diagonal fashion. Then do it just like that. Make yourself indispensable and make your boss ask “what did I do before this intern started? How did I survive?”
4. Ask questions
There will be times when your boss is busy and unable to answer questions, but the majority of the time she wants you to ask away. I would always prefer an intern to ask a “stupid” question before she starts an assignment, than find out afterwards that the project she’s been working on all day wasn’t done right. You’re an intern. You’re supposed to be clueless and full of questions. If you had all the answers, I wouldn’t have hired you to work under me. I would have hidden your resume in a dark corner in fear that you would be hired above me.
5. Be positive
Walk in the office everyday with a positive “how can I help you” attitude, people will notice and people will want you around. Say good morning and say good night. Test out the office waters. Do people talk all day? Feel free to jump into the convo. Are people passing around hilarious Youtube videos, feel free to participate. I’m not saying to spend the entire day researching videos to pass around, but I am saying that a big part of impressing your boss is proving that you can fit in.
Do these rules apply for every single internship? No. Do these rules apply to the people who have bosses from hell who make them cry? Absolutely not. But these rules apply to my office and as someone who just hired a beloved former intern to be a fulltime editor here, I know it’s all true.