Hello everyone! I hope you guys had a great Spring break and are back feeling refreshed to tackle classes and research. A lot of grad students take a break from school during the summer months to get some experience in the industry through summer internships, and for international students, this could be your first time working in America. So today I decided to discuss everything that I learned from my summer internship to help you achieve your professional goals!
- Confidence is Everything: Speak with confidence, whether it is to your peers or to upper management. I learned the hard way that being shy and not as vocal about issues (work related or otherwise) is only a hindrance to your voice being heard within the company.
- Say Yes: There are possibly quite a few opportunities at work to get involved with the company in ways other than your core technical tasks, like developing company policies, assisting with marketing or operations, etc. My advice is to say yes to all of these opportunities, regardless of whether or not they are personally your top priority. Having a positive can-do attitude goes a long way in turning your internship into a full-time offer.
- Network: I struggled with this a lot during my initial days working in America, but I realized that networking, within and outside your office helps a ton in the long run. Getting your tasks done is only a part of your professional success. Talking to other people that work within your industry also plays a crucial role.
- Show Eagerness: There are times when your work load wouldn’t be as much as you’d expect. Instead of whiling time away, I highly recommend reaching out to managers and offering assistance in other tasks. I did this a lot during my internship simply because I loved my job, but later realized that it created a positive image in the minds of my managers and helped strengthen my relationship within the firm.
- Asking For a Full-Time Offer: Towards the end of your internship, you will have probably figured out if this company is a good fit for you in terms of skill set and culture. If you’re hoping to work for them full-time, bring it up to the right person (HR Manager, Operations Manager, etc.) around two weeks before the end of your internship. That gives them enough notice to make the decision, send you an offer letter, work out any further salary negotiations, etc.
Keep in mind that an internship is basically an extended interview, so the chance of getting a full-time offer depends on your performance during the internship. Best of luck and I hope these tips help!