By the SMU Social Media Team
Internships are excellent opportunities for getting your feet wet in an industry you’ve been eyeing, and building up skills beyond the classroom. However, they could also help grads land a full-time position, getting that proverbial foot through the door of dream companies.
“More and more companies have, in recent years, been looking at internships as a kind of probationary period,” reveals Mr Soo Chai Chew, assistant director of SMU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Business Postgraduate Career Services.
“From the company’s viewpoint, it’s a low-risk, low expense way of testing an unknown candidate before eventually hiring him/her as a full-time.”
Here are some expert tips from Mr Soo on how you could try to turn an internship into a coveted full-time job offer:
1. Make the right choice
Picking an internship solely for its potential to turn into a permanent job is a recipe for heartache and unhappiness, says Mr Soo.
That said, look for companies that are in growth industries and are constantly hiring to increase the possibility of a job offer. SMU’s Postgraduate Career Services serves as the principal point of contact for employers who wish to recruit SMU postgraduates as interns or permanent hires. It provides onsite and online recruitment services for prospective recruiters seeking talents. Available job positions are listed on your friendly SMU career portal – OnTRAC.
Next, visit online job boards like LinkedIn and JobsDB to conduct some simple research. Postgraduate Career Services’ officers are always willing to help. LinkedIn provides analytics by companies – you could view a company’s month-by-month growth of employee headcount and even employee distribution by function and new hires.
You should also speak to family, friends, alumni who are working in those companies to get further insider insights.
2. Showcase your best traits
Once you’ve found an internship, focus on displaying qualities that employers seek in a full-time staff. Possess great work attitude — instead of adopting an “I’m just an intern” mentality, be willing to go that extra mile and always be positive, even if you are assigned seemingly menial tasks or take on more than other interns.
Always be professional by showing up to work on time, energised to take on whatever comes your way. That might mean forgoing a late-night movie on weekdays, but your superiors will certainly notice your ability to always be clear-headed and focused in the office.
This is also the best time to practise your SMU-honed skills of speaking up and naturally mingling with others. Instead of simply gossiping with fellow interns or only interacting with those on your team, try engaging others from your department and beyond to expand your options for scoring a full-time position.
3. Enrich yourself (and your CV)
Participate in Career Development workshops to ensure that you enter an internship with the best skill set possible. Postgraduate Career Services offers a slew of enrichment workshops to help postgraduate students acquire life skills. Workshop topics range from career planning, resume writing and interviewing, to employment negotiations and networking, to name a few. These workshops are held throughout the year and are specifically targeted to meet the needs of students undergoing career transition. Students can check out OnTRAC for the schedule of upcoming workshops.
4. Seek personalised advice
Take full advantage of the Career Coaches at Postgraduate Career Services to maximise your qualifications and job hunt during or prior to an internship. Each student is provided with a designated career coach, who will be able to provide assistance with various aspects of the career development process, including tips on optimising SMU’s array of career preparation and management off- and online resources, which resides in the Dato’ Kho Hui Meng Career Centre (DKHMCC).