Job Choices - February 2013 - (Page 28)
BUILDING RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE
Getting the Most From Your Internship Experience
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recruiting and staffing services. “An internship is a great testing ground to make sure that you are on the right path.” Most companies hire the majority of their full-time college graduates from their pool of interns and co-ops. Canale says that 70 percent of GE’s full-time hires have interned with the company. What can you do to get the most out of your internship experience? First, you need to know what employers look for in their interns that makes them candidates for full-time positions. First and foremost, employers see potential in you, says Julie Cunningham, president of The Cunningham Group. Potential, Cunningham explains, is indicated by your: • Ability to learn quickly (not just the job tasks, but the informal rules of the organization) • Perseverance when confronted with obstacles • Ability to work independently and finish tasks • Ability to work as part of a team • Technical skills related to the job “Lastly,” she continues, “don’t underestimate how much social poise and good manners count.” Burke Walls, Intel’s intern program manager, agrees, adding that a positive attitude during your internship is a key indicator of on-the-job success.
Learning, confirming, impressing, and positioning. When you take an internship, these should be four of your goals. Of course you want to learn as much as you can about your employer and its culture, and about the industry in which it operates. You’re looking to confirm that both the employer and the industry are good matches for you. But you also want to impress managers and leaders to position yourself for an offer of full-time employment from the organization once you graduate.
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“If you get a ‘high-quality’ internship that gives you the chance to apply what you are studying in school, it will give you the opportunity to confirm that your major is really the right direction for the start of your career,” explains Steve Canale, General Electric’s (GE) manager of global
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