You have done it: during your MBA the company of your dreams has offered you the chance to do an internship.
You have some busy, very challenging months ahead of you. You will have to reveal all of your talent and showcase your strengths if you are to convince your superiors that you deserve a permanent appointment.
How can you turn an internship into a real job?
Sue Kline is the co-senior director of the MIT Sloan School of Management career development office. In an interview with the Financial Times, she discussed how you must carefully manage a number of aspects of your professional and personal conduct in order to stand out among the candidates that are being put to the test and prove that you deserve a permanent contract.
It is not all about business.
According to Sue Kline, showing the ability to complete the tasks that you are given and do an outstanding job, is not the only factor that can influence the managers of a company.
Let’s take a look at how you can gain a competitive edge as you strive to win the contract of your dreams.
1. Show teamwork skills and embrace the company’s culture
In the business culture of the new millennium, there is no denying that company dynamics are driven by people. They are at the heart of every business. It is essential to create a solid, virtuous network of colleagues and staff if you really want to show your value and highlight your qualities.
Other crucial skills are the capability to adapt (interns must be able to comply naturally with the unwritten rules in a company), the ability to develop empathy (which is a vital prerequisite for exceptional cooperation) and the capacity to work as a team.
Last but not least, ensuring that your workmates have the best possible opinion of you is a key way of sending a wave of positive feedback towards the managers and the HR department, which may influence any decisions that they make about employing you.
2. Ask for feedback and assessments of your performance
An internship is a trial period when you will face new working challenges. It is a time for growth and learning that will only be constructive if you are helped to move forward by feedback and regular checks on your performance.
All solid organizations should have a training scheme to teach managers how to deal with vertical feedback properly. If this is not the case at your company, do not be afraid to be proactive and suggest introducing a plan to allow you to receive comments and advice about your work on a regular basis. Schedule meetings every week or after big jobs so that you have frequent opportunities to keep check on your progress and improve your performance.
3. Use your mistakes to help you to improve
Do not worry if not all of your feedback is positive. There is still time to address the problems and demonstrate your ability to listen and be flexible.
Always thank managers for giving up their precious time to assess your conduct. Use your meetings with them to establish a better picture of the objectives of your internship and really get to the bottom of your weaknesses, asking for tangible suggestions about areas requiring improvement.
4. Show that you are proactive and willing to get involved
The secret to getting a full-time contract is underlining the value that you can bring to the company.
Show a positive, constructive attitude and lots of drive and determination. Take the initiative and ask for more work: your manager will thank you!