Turn Your Internship Into Your First Job

Finding your first job out of college can be both exciting and a bit overwhelming. As I’m sure you’re internship to first jobaware, companies look for candidates that have some practical on-the-job experience when interviewing and hiring. An internship is the perfect way to get some hands-on experience. The following are suggested steps that you can take to leverage the effort you are putting into an internship. You’ll also find some post-internship insights on how to parlay an internship into a well-negotiated opportunity toward the end.

  1. Create Role Clarity

Get clarity on your role and come up with a good title for your interim assignment. Your role during your internship isn’t to make copies or make Starbucks runs for everyone. Discuss your goals for your internship with the person you are reporting to. If they don’t have a plan for your internship, suggest that you create a draft that can be reviewed between the two of you. You want to make sure that you’ve got a roadmap, and aren’t relying on your manager to give you guidance every day. It also prevents you from sitting idle wondering what to do, while ensuring you get to do some meaningful projects and work.

2. Be Proactive

You need to realize that whomever you are reporting to during your internship has a full-time job and you are an additional responsibility for them to oversee. While they may be appreciative of you being there, proactively stay engaged and offer your assistance. Autonomy is a good thing when fulfilling an internship, versus needing guidance every step of the way. If you are able to take on more, speak up and let your manager know. The intent of companies bringing interns into the mix can be two-fold. They get additional resources to further work that needs to get done, and gives them an opportunity to ‘test-drive’ and find new talent before committing to a full-time role with you.

3. Get What You Need

Once you are getting close to the end of your internship, you ideally have done a great job with the projects you were assigned. If everything went well, you can do two things. First, you can ask for a reference from your reporting manager. If it’s positive and something you’d want others to see online, you can ask if they will also put it on LinkedIn. Second, you can discuss their plans or needs for filling this role, and what you can do to ensure you are considered. That allows you to get a sense whether this was strictly an internship, or whether the opportunity exists to come back in a full-time capacity once you graduate. This of course makes the assumption that you want to come back as an employee versus an intern.

Internships allow you to rule out specific areas of work that you have no interest in pursuing once you graduate. They also help you get clear on roles that you are particularly interested in. The opportunity to experience different company cultures is also important. No two companies are alike, so get to know the people around you and make sure it’s somewhere you’d want to call ‘home’ for a while if the opportunity presents itself.

Post-Internship Suggestionsinternship life and success

Internships are wonderful opportunities to get some practical work experience and test various roles within your area of study. You also get exposed to various companies, team environments, and leadership styles. What works for one person, may not work for another.

We are all unique and based upon our backgrounds, expectations and experience; have a vision of our future endeavors once we graduate. I remember graduating and saying ‘I want to be the VP of Marketing for a Fortune 500 company.’ I accomplished that in 12 years working my way up in the same company from an entry-level employee.


One thing to be cognizant of is that if you are paid minimum wage for an internship and consider going back as a full-time employee once you graduate, you need to be very clear on salary expectations. What is acceptable in an internship capacity is not what you should expect coming on board as an employee. Just because you accepted a lower internship stipend has no correlation to your abilities or potential as a full-time team member.

Do your homework while you’re in your internship. Get a sense for salary ranges by meeting with HR sometime during your internship and discussing salary ranges for various entry level roles you may be interested in. Salaries are negotiable yet typically ranges are established to keep a company’s salary and overall compensation package competitive in the market. Preparing by doing some due diligence on companies you’re interested by visiting GlassDoor.com and talking with other employees who have been with the company for a while while you are in an internship role, are smart moves.

Look Out For Yourself

Finding a job may not be as difficult or as easy as you imagined. To improve your odds of making a good decision, be prepared. Finding out as much about a company as you can before accepting a role is vital to making a good decision. Remember, if you happen to make a decision that turns out not to be what you thought it would be, you have the prerogative to seek another opportunity.

Gone are the days of company and employee deep loyalty. Both sides seem to have a mentality that represents ‘what have you done for me lately.’ This is simply a reflection of how work options, company cultures and entrepreneurial possibilities have shifted the relationship between company and employee.


Many more choices exist today, which can be seen as both good and bad depending upon how you look at it. Nevertheless, when it comes  to your internship experience, make sure you get what you need out of the time you invest. Internships are intended to help you experience and build practical skills in your area of study. This experience you will for sure use in the job market once you graduate.

10 Easy Steps to Land Your Dream Job

dream jobYour thoughts have energy. The more you focus on what you hate about your current job or situation, the more of that you will get. On the contrary, when you are focused on what you WANT and LIKE about your reality and life, you get more of those things. Your dream job will manifest the faster you get clear on what is most important to you.

Manifesting your new more healthy and nurturing reality is much easier than you think. It just takes clarity and some thought and imagination on your part. I’m a certified Professional Coach, so I challenged a friend of mine to this exercise after he shared how unhappy he was in his current work situation and environment.

In order to get clear on what you want and make a change to create your ideal work or dream job, here’s a challenge you can accept or reject.

Write out the elements of your IDEAL next opportunity. Be as specific as possible and answer the following:

1. state your ideal specific type of work

  • what do you love to do, what are you good at, what makes you light up

2. describe your specific type of client(s) or customers

  • do you like working 1:1 with individual clients or customers, do you prefer group settings, etc

3. write specific details around the company/agency/or organization

  • is it a start-up, Fortune 500, agency, non-profit, etc.

4. describe in detail your ideal work environment

  • do you work in teams, independently, cross-departmentally

5. describe the type of people and level of interaction you would like

  • do you want to be around extroverts, teaming, collaborative, or independent thinkers with minimal engagement

6. write and visualize specific details around the part of the city, location or neighborhood you ideally will work in

  • do you want to work from home and occasionally go into the office, would you like to work with a global team, do you thrive on office interaction and want to go into the office to engage with others

7. get clear on the specific dollar amount you want along with the compensation structure

  • state what you ideally want to make in exchange for your efforts, ideas and contributions — do you want salary for a specific time commitment, commissions for increased sales, a hybrid of both. Be open to possibilities because anything is possible — your job is to get very clear on YOUR ideal situation and ask to be drawn to it

8. get clear on specific details around vacation time time off , personal days off

  • it’s easier to negotiate flexibility around hours, time off, vacation time and personal days upfront before you commit — maybe you’d like a take it as you need it vacation time policy work environment. Get clear on what is important to you, write it down and visualize it happening.

9. get clear on what you ideally want around work-from-home flexibility

  • envision what fits most ideally with your life situation and work style, you may be more productive with a one-day-a week work from home plan, or some other hybrid

10. what are the qualities of your ideal supervisor/manager/boss

  • do you like hands-on oversight or do you prefer more autonomy, identify the qualities of your ideal manager and list them specifically

You can and will manifest your ideal environment, opportunity or dream job, with the more clarity you have. The more specificity you write and imagine, believe and take steps to meet people who can introduce you to your ideal work, the faster it will happen. You first must see what you want, then believe that it exists, and take action to get yourself out in the world so that the universe can align you with your ideal work environment and experience.

I believe that we are all here to do work that we feel good about that contributes to the world in a way that makes things better for us all. If you are struggling to find that balance and connection to your higher purpose and are willing to take whatever steps are necessary to find it, raise your hand and step up. Whatever you believe is possible is possible. The word IM-possible confirms it — I M Possible.