The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you turn an internship into a full-time job?” is by Lorenzo Ciacci, chief technology officer at Vacasa.
In the scramble to turn an internship into a permanent role, it’s easy to lose sight of an internship’s inherent benefits: the chance to learn more about what you like and what you’re good at. Though I never had the opportunity to be an intern myself, I’ve managed many interns in my role as CTO at Vacasa, and I’m convinced that internships are one of the best ways to find talented, motivated employees.
Internships aren’t just good for employers; they’re good for prospective employees. Internships allow your skills to blossom, give you insight into a company’s culture, and enable you to form potentially powerful relationships. The best internships empower you to work hard and get better at what you do.
That said, if you land a great internship, you’re definitely going to want to turn it into a full-time job. Here are some tips for making that happen:
Use your time as an intern to identify your own aptitudes. If you’re a developer, would you rather work on the front end or the back end? Do you thrive in a client-facing role? Does being a manager appeal to you, or do you see yourself performing best as an individual contributor?
Ask yourself what you’re really good at. How do you want to spend your days? What kinds of projects excite you? Asking these questions will help you recognize your strengths.
Make new friends
Take advantage of opportunities to get to know the company culture and people around you. Go to the lunches. Go to the happy hours. Bonding with your team won’t just make you more productive; it’ll also tell you whether you really want to work with these people.
If you’re unsure how to keep the conversation going, it’s never a bad idea to ask people about themselves: “How did you become interested in this field?” “What brought you to this company?” People are usually happy to talk about themselves, and the answers to these questions can give you a lot of insight into how your own career might unfold.
Just make sure getting to know your colleagues doesn’t interfere with productivity. After all, an internship is a job. You’re there to work, not be a debutante.
Stay on your toes
The most successful interns ask questions that make it clear that they see their roles as stepping stones for bigger opportunities within the company. They’re polite and direct: “Am I doing the right things to move into a full-time role?” “How can I get closer to my goal of being a full-time employee?”
Vacasa has plenty of former interns who are now thriving as developers, and we’re excited to bring them on as full-time employees because they sold us on their value from the minute they came on as interns.
While you may not have control over your employer’s budget or any of the other variables that can influence whether or not you’re offered a full-time position, you do have control over how you approach your internship. Focus on delivering value and bringing a great attitude to the office, and more than likely you’ll find yourself on the path to full-time employment.