Turn Your Summer Internship Into a Full-Time Job

If you’re interning this summer, don’t get too comfortable – spin it right and you might be able to parlay that internship into a full-time job offer when the summer is over. But if that’s your goal, you need to be actively working toward it all summer long. Here’s how to best position yourself to turn your experience as an intern into a permanent job

Take your work seriously

You might think that you’re “only” doing intern work, but even if the work is low-level, people will notice if you’re cavalier toward it. Apply yourself to the low-level tasks and you might be offered more interesting, advanced work. But treat it carelessly and no one will trust you with other work opportunities. Plus, the work you do probably impacts other people. If you don’t turn something in on time, you may delay other pieces of the project. If your work is sloppy or incomplete, someone else will have to spend time redoing it. Unlike in school, other people are relying on the work you p

Speak up if you don’t have enough to do

Occasional downtime isn’t a big deal, but if you’re regularly being left without enough work, talk to your manager. Explain that you’re frequently finding yourself without anything to do and ask if there are longer-term projects you could take on to keep busy. You can also offer to help out others in the office; you may find that when your manager is too busy to set you up with new projects, others would be grateful for the help.roduce, so it’s important to approach it with care. Similarly …

Do grunt work cheerfully

Even if you get stuck filing or collating documents, don’t act bored or too good for low-level work. That’s what summer internships are often about! The idea is that you’re proving yourself on the basics in order to demonstrate that you can be trusted with more complicated, higher-stakes work. And you’re also getting exposure to professionals working in your field in exchange for being available for some of the less desirable tasks. That’s the bargain at the core of a lot of internships, and it’s one that pays off if you embrace it. However …

Dress appropriately for your office – and ask for guidance if needed.

Terms like “business casual” can be confusing even to people who have been in the workforce for years, so don’t be shy about asking for advice if you’re not sure you’re dressing professionally enough. Employers would much rather have interns speak up and ask for help with dress code issues than have them show up in something inappropriate for the office. (But some quick tips: You can’t go wrong by avoiding flip flops, tank tops and anything that reveals more skin than you’d reveal if you were having lunch with your conservative and beloved grandmother.)

But not too many questions

If your employer is a good one, your colleagues want you to learn and will welcome questions. But be sure to remember that they’re there to get work done, so pick your time and place wisely. A tense or hurried meeting isn’t the place to give your curiosity free rein. Similarly, when someone is frazzled or on deadline, confine your questions to those that are essential.

Ask questions

 You’re there to learn, so don’t be shy about asking questions. That’s especially true if you’re assigned work that you don’t fully understand how to do. It’s better to ask upfront than have to redo it all later. And at some point, make sure you ask “How am I doing?” and “What could I be doing better?” Those are questions that can get you really valuable input on your work and work habits.