As a recent college graduate, the months following my exit of formal education were spent much like most of my peers – facing the harsh reality that the job market is often an unforgiving place. Each day was spent scouring the land of LinkedIn for any job opening I “might” be qualified for. Finally after months of anxiety I was given the hardest decision of my summer: take the full-time job offering in a field I wasn’t very comfortable in, or take a paid internship in PR, the field I had aspired to get into. It didn’t take long to finally decide that the internship was the right choice to make and two weeks later I started my internship at Matter Communications.
Within a short period of time I began to hit stride and after a few months of hard work and learning, I was offered a full-time position in Matter’s Precision team, the group I had been interning for.
Here are five tips for how to convert an internship into a full-time career:
You’re Not a Pro (yet) – The worst thing you can do when entering an internship is to be over confident. It’s important to keep in mind that you are not a PR guru, but you can be in the future. The only way to get there is to remember that your co-workers have been in the business for some time and may know a thing or two about PR.
Embrace Criticism – There is nothing wrong with receiving some constructive criticism. In fact, you should welcome it, especially as an intern. Maybe that pitch you drafted should be worded differently or that press release is too vague. The edits you receive are not malicious, they are intended to make you better. Instead of brushing off an employee’s edits or critiques, welcome them and really take time to learn from them. It will only make you better.
Accept, Accept, Accept – Accept any and every task you can get your hands on. Even if you’re not totally clear on how to go about completing the task there is always an opportunity to learn by doing. This will give you an opportunity to try something new and gain a new skill in the process. Plus, there is nothing wrong with diving into the deep end every once in a while.
Ask Questions – There is nothing wrong with asking for clarification. After all, you are an intern and may need some help from time to time. It is better to ask questions while completing the task than to turn in a finished product to find out you were completely off target.
Be a Sponge – It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Take in every experience you can get. Whether you are sitting in on a client meeting or taking part in a brainstorm. There is something to learn around every corner.
I’ve now been with Matter for six months, and full-time for three. I couldn’t be happier to have started out as an intern as I firmly believe it was a tremendous experience that made the transition into being a full-time employee much easier. Hopefully you can use some of the tips above to improve your career.