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How to Turn Your Internship Into a Full-Time Job Opportunity

How do you turn your internship into a full-time job?

That is the question we asked to our Watch The Yard Instagram followers last week. We got an amazing response from professionals and students who had landed job offers after doing internships but one specific comment from T’Edra Jackson stood out among the rest.

We reached out to T’Edra to elaborate on her advice for interns and she sent back the following 9 tips on how to make the transition from an intern to getting a job offer.

Check out her 9 points below:

  • Gain Understanding of the Business-Learning the business, industry, competitors, and consumer habits are important for one’s success, not just for an internship but for one’s career as well. It is important to understand how the company you are currently in or the company you desire to be in operates. YES, it may seem hard and daunting at first, but this is STRATEGY. A good understanding for the business is great practice tool for understanding industry, competitor and consumer habits is Porter’s Five Forces. Each and every company has a strategy they strive to accomplish to help make the company profitable and sustainable. As an intern knowing the business and how to help the company profitable, makes one a marketable candidate for full time employment.

(Below is an example of Porters 5 Forces and the research that goes into each category)

  • Get to know your leaders and their leadership styles – Each leader has it’s own leadership style, personally, I wish I would have done this better in one of my experiences. Learning your leader (how they think, how they process information, their personality style, their expectations is vital to one’s success). Do not be afraid to ask your leader out to lunch to get to know them better, observe your leader to see and understand how he/she interacts with others. Ask your leader questions about their experiences, successes, challenges within their career to gain a better understanding.
  • No job is beneath you – Everyone has a job to do, strive to gain a high level understanding of what not only the top people do but what receptionist, assistants, vendors, etc. Yes, it may seem as if you already know, but some of those people are the real gatekeepers of the business, and are the moving pieces that keep the business afloat. Yes they are important too!! As an intern it is important to take the tasks that no one wants. I remember being an intern for a great company and no one wanted to shred, it was time consuming and boring, but for me it was fun, it was a chance to talk to everyone that came in that room and it was an added responsibility that helped save others time.Take initiative – As an intern, it’s important to show you are willing to take initiative. Companies want interns that have a go getter mindset, one who can show they add value. You do not have to have all the answers but be willing to find the answers, help solve the problems that some leaders within the organization may face. Be humble enough to know you don’t know all the answers, but be persistent enough to go find the answers.
  • Be curious – Always ask questions to gain understanding, clarity and knowledge. Be humble enough to know you don’t know all the answers, but be persistent enough to go find the answers. Don’t be afraid of challenge, take the challenge head on!
  • Seek out mentors and sponsors – Having a mentor can help you navigate throughout the organization, they have different perspectives. It’s okay to have a mentor inside and outside of an organization; I believe having mentors is vital to one’s success. Know that your mentor is not your yes man; quite frankly you should not have anyone in your circle that’s a yes man. Your mentor is to help guide your career and help keep your life afloat. A sponsor will advocate for you in your organization when you need to be more visible. I personally haven’t had sponsors in my career, I have had PLENTY of sponsors when it came to my exposure, growth and development when it came to serving in my Sorority, I do not know where half of the opportunities came from but I am forever grateful someone mentioning my name, believing in me and I am happy I said YES to each and every opportunity that came my way. (Check out Forbes article written by Louise Pentland-Mentor vs. sponsorship and How To Maxmize Both)
  • Own your performance – It is so important to understand where you stand in regards to your performance. I worked for a great company, I thought my performance was in good standing, I had a meeting with my manager and he told me he did not know how long I was going to be with the company, talking about not being on the same page. Show you are serious about improving your performance, growth and development. ( in an interview ask who will you report to in regards to your performance and schedule check-in’s with your manager)
  • Be confident in yourself – Be confident in your interview, be confident in your skills, gifts and talents that’s what make you AWESOME. Be confident in the answers you give to your managers, remember it is okay of you don’t know but be willing and diligent in finding the answer(I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.-Psalm 139:14)
  • KILL IT and share your experience with others- Your internship experience is not just for you, it is for you to help widen the doors for others who will come behind you. After I completed my internship, I was selected to complete Phase II of the internship program and after Phase II, I was offered a full time position, after my full time position, there were students who interned and are still interning for the company, they call or ask for about my experience and advice. Your position as an intern is so much bigger than you- it’s for your school, it’s for, it’s for the people who helped put you on, it’s for your future. Do the VERY BEST YOU CAN DO AND GO ABOVE AND BEYOND. As Michelle Obama stated: “And he believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

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