How to turn an internship into a job

Flickr user Victor1558

(MoneyWatch) Traditionally, internships are a potential pathway to an entry-level job. But according to a new study by Millennial Branding and Experience, Inc, over two-thirds of 225 employers surveyed hired 30 percent or fewer interns to assume permanent gigs. In addition, 91 percent of those same employers think that students should have at least one internship in order to be considered for post-graduation jobs.

The good news? Internships are plentiful. According to job-search site Indeed.com, internship listings were higher in April than in any other month in history. For job-seekers, the key is turning one of these opportunities into a full-time position. Here's how:

Know what you're getting into. You might be on the bottom rung of the ladder, but that doesn't mean you should come in without any knowledge of the industry or company. "Internships are like a tryout," says Bonnie Kerrigan Snyder, a certified college-planning specialist and author of "The New College Reality: Make College Work For Your Career." "You want to do a lot of preparation beforehand so that you are ready to hit the ground running when you arrive. This means reading up on the industry, and the internship firm, before you begin, so that your internship mentor doesn't have to waste time teaching you basic information."

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Skip happy hour. Do what's asked of you -- and then some. "When everyone else goes home from work at 5 p.m., stay later in order to finish projects faster than your manager expected. This is helpful because you can separate yourself from other interns who are doing the bare minimum," says Dan Schawbel, founder and CEO of Millennial Branding. After 5 p.m. may also be prime-time for interesting assignments. While you might be doing busy-work during the day, the lack of spare hands after hours may put you in a position to take on new tasks.

Publicize your progress. Not only do you need to go above and beyond, but you need to be sure your actions are noticed by those who matter. If you're not in front of those people, do it virtually. "At the end of each day, email your supervisor a summary of what you did that day and a plan of action for tomorrow. This small gesture will highlight your diligence and organization, giving your superiors a reason to champion you as an in-house hire," suggests Jessica Givens, college admissions expert and author of "Get Your Summer Strategy On!"

Mix and mingle with your co-workers. You only have face-to-face access to these people for a short time, so don't squander it. "Network with people from different departments within the company by asking questions and developing conversations. Show that you're interested in the company, not just in the projects you're working on," says Robin D. Richards, chairman and CEO of TweetMyJobs and Internships.com. Then, follow up in the future when you're looking for full-time opportunities.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Victor1558

  • Amy Levin-Epstein On Twitter»

    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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