Jenna was so excited to land an internship for the summer after her Junior year. She landed an opportunity at a digital marketing agency working with an account team that supports three fashion industry clients. Although Jenna has some experience creating social media content, this is her first corporate role. She wanted to position herself to receive a full-time job offer after graduation.

Many college interns aim to gain experience, make connections, and position themselves to land a full-time offer at the end of this experience. Internships can be fantastic. However, sometimes the internship is not what was promised. Or the boss is only occasionally available to give guidance. Navigating this work experience can be challenging.

How can your student land a full-time job from this experience?

Here are tips to share with your student to help them ace the internship:

Getting started

First impressions matter! During the first week, interns often meet with their supervisors, colleagues, and team members. Here are ways to make a great initial impression.

  • Dress professionally to start – even if the workplace dress code is casual, it’s better to be more dressed initially.
  • Take notes during all calls and meetings. Participate as much as possible and ask clarifying questions.
  • Be the first to volunteer to work on something. This is how to build your network.
  • Be curious and ask questions.
  • Smile!!!

If remote:

  • Ensure a clean and quiet setting for your video meetings. Ensure there is no messy bed or questionable posters in the background.
  • For every video meeting, write down the name (first and last) of every person on the calls.
  • At the end of each day, connect with new colleagues on LinkedIn stating that it was nice to meet them on video and that you are looking forward to working with them throughout the summer.

Understanding/Setting expectations

Understanding the expectations of a manager is critical to having a successful experience. An intern needs to ask and understand the priorities if not laid out. Here are some great questions to ask the boss.

  • What are your expectations of me for the next 8 weeks?
  • How will you measure my success? How would you define a successful internship experience?
  • How often will we meet? How frequently would you like an update on my progress?
  • If I have questions, who are the best people to contact for help?
  • What advice do you have for me?

Tracking progress

The key to a successful internship experience…even if the job is boring or is not what is expected, is tracking accomplishments each week. We have created an Internship Tracking Journal to help track these metrics:

  • Time spent working on specific projects/training
  • # clients/colleagues you interacted with/assisted
  • # tasks completed each day/week
  • Any lessons learned, anything enjoyed, disliked, or ideas from the experience

Mid-way progress

Instead of waiting until the end of the internship, ask for a meeting with the boss/supervisor halfway to get feedback. The goal is to understand performance and opportunities for improvement or growth. Then adjustments can be made for the remaining time.

Ask these questions:

  • How am I doing with meeting your expectations so far? Where am I doing well? What can I improve?
  • Are there certain projects you would like to have completed by the end of my time? Anything new I should take on?
  • Based on my performance, would you consider me a fit for this company going forward? Why or why not?

Finish strong

Ask the boss for a final meeting. Prepare to share accomplishments, what has been learned, and any recommendations for the organization. This could be the opportunity to ask for final feedback and if your skills align with the company. Ask about the process for applying for a full-time offer at the company. Even if they don’t offer a full-time position, it’s important to leave on positive terms. You may need them for a reference.

Be humble and appreciative of the opportunity. Thank everyone you worked with and stay in touch with them.

We know that internships do not guarantee employment, but they can be instrumental in helping make decisions about the future career path.

If you would like to learn more about how Next Great Step helps students land an internship or maximize the internship experience, we would love to speak with you. Sign up for a Complimentary Consultation HERE or call us at 973-577-6161.