As college graduates struggle to find jobs, it is a reassuring metric that 60% of paid internships result in job offers, as reported in a recent Forbes article (unpaid internships had a lower conversion rate of 37%). The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conducted the study which surveyed 15,715 college seniors from January 2012 through April 2012. According to the study, paid internships involve a substantial amount of professional experience which causes the company to become more invested in your performance and growth. The survey reported that paid interns typically spend 42% of their time helping with analysis and project management, while unpaid interns perform these tasks only 30% of the time. Whichever type of internship you are involved in, internships can be a great launch pad for your future career and it is important to make a good impression. Forbes provides us with some advice:
1. Research the Internship
Search online and if possible, talk to others that have had the internship in the past. You want an internship that has a lot of hands-on experience allowing for your professional growth.
2. Be Professional
Be respectful, pay attention to dress code, and follow appropriate office hours. By being mindful of company culture, you appear as a mature individual that is ready to commit to a full-time job.
Take this opportunity to begin networking with peers, upper management, and other departments. The people you meet now can be great contacts and professional resources in the future, whether you are looking for a job or need professional advice.
4. Ask Questions
As an intern you want to learn as much as you can while you can, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. An internship is a learning experience and you are not expected to know everything from the start.
5. Plan with your Supervisor
Sit down with your supervisor at the beginning of your internship and decide on goals you would like to achieve. Discuss skills you would like to obtain and projects you would like to work on. By creating a road map in the beginning, you are setting yourself up for success.
If someone is in need of assistance on a project, volunteer to help. By volunteering for different tasks you will learn more and develop a more well-rounded skill set. Just make sure not to exceed the limit of what you can handle.
7. Keep in Touch
At the completion of your internship, stay in touch with those you have met. Initially, send thank you notes and every few months send emails to keep the lines of communication open.