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.

Seven Solid Tips to Get a Raise

Getting a raise or salary increase requires finesse and some inside tips on how things really work. I worked my way up from an entry-level position, to C-Level management and have held many executive roles. I have been responsible for salary treatment for teams and individuals within start-up, small and large organizations.

What I know to be true, regardless of the size or type of business, is that the process of explaining or communicating salary treatment is done poorly in just about every company and organization that I have experienced. The majority of the time, salary treatment is not even openly discussed, and increases come with little say or input from the employee.

The fact is, once you negotiate your salary, you are at the mercy of the company and your manager or department head to fairly compensate you for great work. Given the years of experience that I have had in various organizations, the following are some tips that help lay the foundation for you to get the raise you deserve. They also can give you the clarity you may need to make a decision to move on from your current assignment as well.

Tip #1

When you accept a new job or role, set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) going into the new position. This sets the foundation for your performance goals in your role, and allows you to objectively know when you have hit or exceeded those objectives. This serves multiple purposes, it allows you to check-in on your performance on your own, as well as giving you a better chance at a more objective review once you get to that point.

I have seen nebulous objectives set too many times. Objectives that cannot be measured make it difficult to determine whether they have been hit or achieved. Objectives that are not measurable or cannot be defined in terms of ‘what does success look like,’ are poorly written goals or objectives. Do your best to define goals with your manager’s buy-off that can show that you are a rock star or at a minimum performing successfully once you hit them.

The other thing I will say is that even if you don’t have these set clearly right now, tell your manager that you would like to more clearly define success in your role. Not only does this show initiative on your part, it also gives you a foundation to defend yourself in the event you should need one.

Tip #2

Ask your manager to walk you through how salary treatment is administered. As a member of their team and an employee of the company, you have a right to know management’s and the company’s philosophy toward salary treatment. This subject should be openly discussed as much as goals, benefits and the time-off policy. The fact that salary treatment is treated like such a taboo topic leads to as much frustration, resentment and employee turnover as having a poor manager.

Given that salary treatment is not typically openly discussed, you will most likely have to take the lead. You can let your manager know that you would like to know how salary treatment is administered so that you know what to expect as an employee. This is a reasonable request. You can ask whether the topic of salary treatment is better explained by your manager or by Human Resources. Once you have that answer, you will know what direction to go.

Tip #3

Do great work. It goes without saying that doing great work is a fundamental requirement to receiving a meaningful increase. You may find, which I have seen unfortunately, in some cases employees have done an outstanding job yet do not receive an equivalent increase. This fact makes Tip #2 that much more important. Employees too often put their financial trust in their manager or the company, only to be disappointed — even when they have done an outstanding job.

Tip #4

Document your success throughout the time leading up to the review period. I used to ask my direct reports complete the first draft of their review because as I told them that I was confident that they had a more detailed memory and documentation of all their specific contributions than I will likely have written down. I would then take their draft and add my perspective and additional comments to support their growth. I did this to ensure key contributions were captured and nothing was left out.

Defining clear KPIs before you get to the formal review is crucial to an objective performance review. This is why defining KPIs as you join a company or take a new role within an existing company is vitally important. Waiting until you have already been in the role for a year to assess your performance against KPIs that were never formally set to begin with, makes an objective review extremely difficult if not impossible.

Tip #5

Ask for the raise as part of the review process. This is where finesse comes into the mix. If you followed Tip #2 you have already had the discussion around the company’s salary treatment philosophy. If you did not implement that tip, you are at the mercy of whatever happens.

If you have documented your successes, met or exceeded your objectives, and contributed toward achieving the company’s goals, you should ideally receive an increase. If you have a sense for how salary is administered, you will have a general idea of what’s ‘possible.’

The reality is that from my many years of experience, there is typically a pool of money that is allocated annually and allocated by team. This money is then awarded within each team, by individual employee, based upon several factors. Most of the time, factors taken into consideration include individual employee performance, contributions above what is expected, where the employee falls within the salary range for their role, how long it has been since they received an increase, and whether the employee is at risk of leaving the company.

Bonus Tip #6

At times salary treatment may not reflect or be in proportion to the employee’s contributions. Be aware that ‘merit’ increases or ‘on the spot’ bonuses are sometimes awarded when an employee’s salary is not in alignment with what they have contributed. No one will tell you this openly, so ask about ‘on the spot’ and ‘merit’ increases when you discuss the company’s salary philosophy.

Bonus Tip #7

This tip is one that I learned along the way as well. When you are discussing an increase with your manager, the following are ‘reasons you deserve a raise’ to stay away from like the plague:

  1. You deserve or need a cost of living increase
  2. It’s been a long time since you got a raise (this may be true, but if you follow tips #1–5 the chance of this should be minimized
  3. Never discuss ‘what you heard’ someone else makes on the team
  4. Industry ‘benchmarks’ for your role

In my next segment on salary treatment when you transition to a new role, new department or new geography, I will share the tips to get the most out of the transition. One of the biggest tips I can tell you is to not undervalue yourself, what you are worth, or what is possible.