Want A Thriving Business? Focus On Internships!

When you visualize the perfect new hire, a few character traits and professional aspirations probably come to mind.

You want someone who’s dedicated to quality and does more than follow directions: Many businesses are actually looking to hire young professionals with an open-mind for fresh approaches yet still receptive to industry best practices.

Business intern

In short, you’re looking for job candidates who show creativity and a knack for independent learning yet still have a grounding in the fundamentals of the profession…with all of the pre-requisites and practicum experience that entails.

Internships for Business Growth

Just surveying the business landscape today you can see that internships are having a positive impact on growth all around the nation: the majority of interns eventually becoming full-time hires.

On average, approximately two-thirds of one-time interns receive job offers from businesses.

That number alone tells you that businesses are impressed with what they’re seeing from interns; so much so that they want that intern to become a full-fledged member of the organization and make independent contributions of their own in the field.

Picking the Cream of the Crop

Internships, in a lot of ways, are boot camps that separate the wheat from the chaff. There’s a vetting process right from the get-go when you interview the top candidates for the job, and that’s followed by another narrowing of the field when it comes to which of those interns who passed the interview process can make it through the internship.

Ranking concept

From there, you have the latitude of picking the best of the best among your interns in that you get to pick among all of the elite interns that made it through. You choose which of these interns get offered a full-time position with the company based on factors like:

  • Likelihood of making a substantive future contribution
  • Ability to network and mesh with industry professionals
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Receptivity to advice, counsel and industry best practice

Internships are effectively a non-stop recruiting tool for your business since by hosting summer, fall and quarterly internships you put yourself in closer proximity to budding talent in your industry.

Your Pipeline to Tomorrow’s Talent

In effect, internships are a pipeline to tomorrow’s highest talent and a means of ensuring that your business can make up for any employee turnover or retirements.

You obviously need more fresh faces coming into the industry as other professionals transition into their golden years and decide on retirement.

Internships are really the closest things that business owners have to a fountain of youth as they enable individual businesses to oversee a fresh stable of talent ready to make an impact in the day-to-day operations of your business.

Gain a Fresh Perspective

It’s also often the case with interns and first-time professionals that they’re completely open to new technologies and novel approaches. Simply put, interns can infuse your internal business culture with a new perspective and a sense of spontaneity and enthusiasm that may have been lacking before those same interns arrived on the scene.

Interns are usually the most interested in their field of study during college and ready to test their mettle by gaining real-world experience and fleshing out their learning in the classroom. When you really think about it, isn’t that the ideal job candidate? Someone who’s done their homework and wants to start making a contribution?

Millions of businesses obviously think so since internships segueing to full-time hires offer more support, increased productivity and bolstered employee retention as interns consistently show higher five-year retention rates. This all goes to show that interns are driven, committed and passionate!

Want A Thriving Business? Focus On Internships!

When you visualize the perfect new hire, a few character traits and professional aspirations probably come to mind.

You want someone who’s dedicated to quality and does more than follow directions: Many businesses are actually looking to hire young professionals with an open-mind for fresh approaches yet still receptive to industry best practices.

In short, you’re looking for job candidates who show creativity and a knack for independent learning yet still have a grounding in the fundamentals of the profession…with all of the pre-requisites and practicum experience that entails.

Internships for Business Growth

Just surveying the business landscape today you can see that internships are having a positive impact on growth all around the nation: the majority of interns eventually becoming full-time hires.

On average, approximately two-thirds of one-time interns receive job offers from businesses.

That number alone tells you that businesses are impressed with what they’re seeing from interns; so much so that they want that intern to become a full-fledged member of the organization and make independent contributions of their own in the field.

Picking the Cream of the Crop

Internships, in a lot of ways, are boot camps that separate the wheat from the chaff. There’s a vetting process right from the get-go when you interview the top candidates for the job, and that’s followed by another narrowing of the field when it comes to which of those interns who passed the interview process can make it through the internship.

From there, you have the latitude of picking the best of the best among your interns. You choose which of these interns get offered a full-time position with the company based on factors like:

  • Likelihood of making a substantive future contribution
  • Ability to network and mesh with industry professionals
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Receptivity to advice, counsel and industry best practice

Internships are effectively a non-stop recruiting tool for your business since by hosting summer, fall and quarterly internships you put yourself in closer proximity to budding talent in your industry.

Your Pipeline to Tomorrow’s Talent

In effect, internships are a pipeline to tomorrow’s highest talent and a means of ensuring that your business can make up for any employee turnover or retirements.

You obviously need more fresh faces coming into the industry as other professionals transition into their golden years and decide on retirement.

Internships are really the closest things that business owners have to a fountain of youth as they enable individual businesses to oversee a fresh stable of talent ready to make an impact in the day-to-day operations of your business.

Gain a Fresh Perspective

It’s also often the case with interns and first-time professionals that they’re completely open to new technologies and novel approaches. Simply put, interns can infuse your internal business culture with a new perspective and a sense of spontaneity and enthusiasm that may have been lacking before those same interns arrived on the scene.

Interns are usually the most interested in their field of study during college and ready to test their mettle by gaining real-world experience and fleshing out their learning in the classroom. When you really think about, isn’t that the ideal job candidate someone who’s done their homework and wants to start making a contribution?

Millions of businesses obviously think so since internships segueing to full-time hires offer more support, increased productivity and bolstered employee retention as interns consistently show higher five-year retention rates. This all goes to show that interns are driven, committed and passionate!

How To Deal With a Very Bad Internship

Getting stuck with a lackluster internship can feel like something straight out of Dante. You went in with high expectations and planned on using this internship as a stepping stone to your first foray into the workforce…and now you find yourself filling coffee orders and shoving paper around more than tapping into your actual skill set.

Manage Your Expectations

Young woman looking at watch time waitnig.

Just remember that when you’re first starting out you can’t always call the shots the way someone with an assigned parking spot and a six-figure salary might be able to. Regardless, know that you do have some rights as an intern. If you are unpaid, in particular, your employer should be fostering a learning environment and meeting the DOL’s 6-point internship test. If you are lucky enough to be paid, your rights are similar to those of a regular employee, although if your internship is for academic credit, your employer should still be providing a learning opportunity.

In other words, while we all know that filing and doing rote tasks that don’t necessarily expand your professional credentials can be humbling, that’s no reason to abandon ship just yet. There’s a lot that you still have control over.

Figuring It Out

Rhinoceros and sheep walking over the single wooden bridge

The initial thing that you need to do is clearly define what it is that you don’t like about the internship. What would you improve? If you could reshuffle your workday to include more exciting and relevant tasks, what would those be?

Your frustration might be something as simple as spending too much time running trivial errands or it might be something more macro like working an unpaid internship. Whatever your beef, identifying the problem allows you to move onto step two.

Next, figure out if it’s the internship itself that’s rubbing you the wrong way or the field and some of the professionals that you work alongside.

If it’s the former, then you might want to consider sticking it out. Almost every professional once had to go through the slog of an internship that was less than completely absorbing. Realize that many – and, in certain industries most – internships directly transition into a job offer (that could be much more exciting to you) so sticking it out might really be in your career’s best interest.

The Internship’s Takeaways

Before throwing in the towel you should be focusing on what you can take away from the internship in terms of added professional skills and networking opportunities.

Along with a potential job offer, a more well-rounded toolbox of professional skills and a few more names in your personal database can really impact your future in ways that make life a whole lot easier down the road. Easier as in a full-time job offer once the internship’s over. In the meantime:

Spend Your Time Wisely

iStock_000075808203_Small

Taking on an internship can be a potential role of the dice, and sometimes that roll doesn’t work totally in your favor. And that’s OK.

Just optimize what you can and avoid things that can sideline you over the long term – things like spending hours every day checking out your friend’s status on social media, checking out burrito “art” on Instagram, or fielding personal calls while on the internship. This internship won’t last forever – and it might even result in a new hiring – so focus on carrying out what your supervisor asks.

Say Please!

Beyond that consider talking to your supervisor and discussing changing your hours or taking on a set of different responsibilities that possibly align more closely with where you see yourself in a couple of years.

Going back to the exercise we mentioned above about identifying exactly what it is that frustrates you about this internship, respectfully frame some of those things as a positive alternative to your supervisor (“more challenging work”) and take it from there. Most supervisors will be happy to oblige and adjust your internship accordingly.

Four Creative Ways You Can Improve Your Internship

You probably already know the importance that an internship plays for gaining real-world work experience and providing a springboard into your first (or next) job after graduation.

What you may have also realized, though, is that it’s not enough to butter up your resume with an internship here and there: You need to make the internship work to support the career trajectory you really want.

Once you have landed an internship, you may find it isn’t everything you expected. If you are yearning to get more out of it and aren’t sure how to do it, you’ll want to read about these four creative ways you can improve your internship.

1. Indulge in Job Shadowing

Shadow of a businessman standing

First thing’s first -to get the most out of your internship, and to determine if there may be a better field for you, ask your employer if you can shadow professionals already established at the company. This will help you assess if the field you are pursuing is the right path for you and discover whether the job is a good match for your personality. It will also allow you the opportunity to ask questions of people you may not otherwise interact with.

2. Ask the Right Questions

Searching for answers. Top view of man holding note pad with question mark on it while standing on the wooden floor

This goes a little beyond “water cooler” banter but the same principles apply: You’ll want to ask the people you’re rubbing elbows with how they got into the field, how they’re enjoying their work and in what ways, if any, their careers have taken surprising deviations from their initial expectations.

Keep the questions open-ended and avoid double-barreled questions – questions that bring up two or more issues yet expect only one answer (e.g., “Is your job challenging and rewarding?”) – to eke out the most mileage in the short time that you have together.

3. Align Yourself with the Culture

Diversity Community Meeting Business People Concept

One thing that can also save you a lot of time, and potential miscues, is aligning yourself with the office culture that you find yourself in. Just like a university, different workplaces have difficult cultures that can make them more laid-back and, well, collegial or pragmatic and no-nonsense environments.

Does this workplace reward individual or team contributions more? Is it OK to be more upfront and ask for feedback or is everyone expected to be a deferential team player? If, for instance, you notice that a lot of attention’s paid to being prepared for meetings and using a more hushed tone in the office, then mirror what everyone else is doing to flow with the environment.

4. Network the Right Way

The answers are online

On the whole topic of melding with your environment, remember that there’s a fine line between being knowledgeable about the industry and wonkishly trying to impress people (and sort of alienating them in the process).

Whether you’re being considered by a panel or talking with your internship manager, you want to make it apparent that you basically know the drill without asking overly technical questions that no intern would conceivably have experience with or honestly be concerned about. Take it one step at a time.

Your employer knows that you’re there to gain work experience and act like a sponge – soaking up everything around you, networking where appropriate and building up a mini list of contacts that you can draw on later to bolster your post-graduation career happiness and success.

So, once your got into a good rhythm around the office and feel comfortable with those you’re working for, then it’s probably OK to start peppering in where you hope this internship leads or how you can start utilizing your internship experiences to better your chances of getting there.

Moving Forward from the Internship

Stay in contact with everyone that you’ve developed a relationship with and send around your contact details when the internship’s over to let them know that you’re still enthusiastic and interested in expanding on the opportunity!

For more student resources on internships, visit https://bridge.jobs/Student/Resources.