Career Advice

Your Engineering Internship Could Be Your Foot in the Door
Shane Laros posted on November 10, 2016 |
It goes without saying that experience in your field of engineering will make it easier to land a jo...

It goes without saying that experience in your field of engineering will make it easier to land a job. Internships are an often talked about, and sometimes argued about, as a way for students and recent graduates to acquire that much-needed experience.

What is the best way to turn an internship into a job, even before graduation? While showing up on time and paying attention are a good place to start (words to live by in any job, really) here are some tips that could help solidify your position in your organization, shared by career education experts at Wake Forest University.

End Your Internship on a Strong Note

As engineers your internship options may take many forms, from hands-on fieldwork, to research in a lab or in a library. In all cases, take careful notes of the work being done and be sure to develop a clear picture of how the internship has given you relevant experience both for this job and for future positions.

Near the end of your internship contract, take the time to sum up everything that you’ve learned, and share these revelations with your supervisor. Show the ways in which you were an asset during your time with the company, and that the lessons you’ve learned will carry forward, wherever you go.

Be sure to expand on the “work culture” you’ve picked up, as well. Organization, flexibility, people skills and initiative can help put a potential job applicant at the top of the list when multiple applicants are technically proficient and experienced.

It may also be prudent to give a handwritten thank you note to your manager and other colleagues on your last day. This will make an impression, and help them keep you in mind for any opportunities that open down the road.

Engage with the Organization, and Keep in Touch with Mentors

Be sure to keep your professional social media platforms (LinkedIn, at the very least) updated with your internship experience and any experience you build outside of work. Connect with mentors who worked with you, and connect with the organization itself. You should also actively follow the industry, and stay up to date on current trends.

This will show the organization you interned for that you are invested in they company and what they do, which will keep you at the forefront of their attention. Other organizations, who could be potential future employers will see that you take your job (even a temporary one) seriously.

Tell Your Manager You Want to Join Their Organization

Though this may seem obvious, many interns move on from a posting and completely forget to explicitly state that they are interested in being employed with the company on a permanent basis. The experience you gained will always help in future jobs, but your current supervisor may not realize you are interested in turning your internship into a career with them unless you mention it.

While internships may seem like a lot of work for already full-time students, the experience gained may be what sets you apart from the other potential employees. It may be interesting to note that a recent NACE survey indicated that students on paid internships had much higher hire rate over those who worked in unpaid or co-op positions – not that a student would need encouragement to accept a paid internship.

If you’re currently looking for engineering internship opportunities, check out our Jobs page.

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