Job Internship

Innovative ways to turn an internship into a job

These days, a job at the end of an internship is like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. After all, it’s not news that jobs for graduates are scarce. If you landed a summer internship and want to transform it into a job offer, you probably know the standard drill post internship – keep in touch with your former manager, find out when their hiring cycle is and contact them then, etc. But here are some innovative things you can do to go beyond the norm and stay in the game.

1. Follow the industry news

After your internship ends, do some ongoing investigative reporting by creating a Google alert for the company and your boss’s name. Then use any interesting tidbits as a reason to send a note back to your former manager. Pair them with other relevant information and links you’ve dug up online that help your boss stay sharp on things like competitors and new industry developments.

2. Show your face

Studies say that as many as 80% of jobs are landed through networking, and most networking still happens face-to-face. So while you continue the relationships you forged in your internship via email and the occasional phone call, it can pay to go to local industry or networking events to show that you’re continuing to learn about the field, the competition and the company. The key, of course, is to be a professional, not a stalker. So show up, be courteous, ask good questions, share useful information, be enthusiastic and then make a graceful exit.

3. Get an official thumbs up

Even if the company you interned for is unable to hire at the time, make sure to get a glowing recommendation letter from them. Ask them to write it as if they’re writing to the hiring manager at another company. Offer to write it for them if need-be. Likewise, ask them whom they know in other companies who might benefit from a talented candidate like you. Many mentors know interns hope to be hired and hate to disappoint promising prospects. Use that to your advantage to gently persuade them to put a little extra grease on the wheels of your job search.

4. Tell no lies

These days, with corporate scandals against high-level execs at every turn, ethics is a high-profile issue. “Integrity is a big thing,” says Steve Canale, manager of recruiting and staff at General Electric (GE). Proving yourself begins with simple habits, such as being honest when you’re late or if you’re going to miss a meeting. But it goes beyond the little fibs. As many as 50% of job seekers lie on their applications, the HR Daily Advisor reported in 2008. That includes the level of education they’ve had, where they’ve worked, even giving “professional references” that are actually paid sources. Don’t be tempted to go these routes, ever.

5. Keep your social life clean

According to a survey by Career Builder, 35% of employers found something on social networking sites that caused them to reject a candidate. If you’ve laid the groundwork in your internship by proving yourself a good, hard worker, don’t mess up with a messy Facebook or Twitter profile. Remember, all it takes is a click for your former internship supervisor to see what you’ve been up to. And you can bet they’ll take a look.

6. Stay on unpaid, with a caveat

In this economy, some companies take the tactic of hiring all new employees as unpaid full-time interns. If you get an offer to go that route, take it, but make sure to ask for a deadline from your supervisor to decide whether you’ll be hired. “I went through several iterations of these unpaid full-time interns,” says Regan Hickey, Market Research Manager for Vision Critical, in an article for CNN Money. “I wanted to push the employees to learn, work hard and show their skills to upper level management. At the same time, it was difficult to push them too hard because they were unpaid.” Hickey says that setting a deadline for the hiring discussion gives everyone something to shoot for.

Don’t give up.

Even if the New Year comes along and you still don’t have a job offer, remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Job-hunting can be rough in the best of times. Show diligence and enthusiasm in going for what you want. Stick with these tips and get creative to show that you’re a better candidate than the rest.

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