Every year Kenyan fresh graduates are joining the labour market at a pretty high rate. Once done with the campus life, the biggest prayer is always to land a nice job as soon as possible.
Whilst the full time graduate jobs may be far, internships in Kenya do come in handy. They offer the fresh graduate an opportunity to have hands-on workplace experience.
Landing the internship may also not be a walk in the park though. Whenever the opportunity comes knocking, the graduate or intern embraces it with this silent prayer in his/her heart, “Oh God, may you turn this internship into a full-time role”, Amen.
In order to for the prayer to get a breakthrough, you should consider the following:
1. Go for the right/relevant internship
Sometimes job desperation makes us grab anything. However to make the most of an internship, it is wise to get one which fits into your background and future career ambitions.
This is the first step toward turning the internship into a full time employment. If the opportunity avails itself, then you want to take on a role that fits into your plans.
Take time to get information about the possible companies you are eyeing. Target the start-ups and SME’s since they always run on strained human resources.
To know more about the fitting nature of the internship, you may also need to consult with other interns who have been in that environment before.
2. Be professional and dress for the next job
As an intern you operate on a shoe string budget. However this is not an excuse for sloppy dressing. Make sure you buy some nice and professional dresses for the office.
Present yourself as a serious professional who can be considered for a better job at the end of his/her internship.
Violating the dress code during your internship puts you on the exit path earlier than expected.
Adhere to work hours and treat all persons with respect. Their word will count when an opportunity presents itself. Take time and study how senior employees carry themselves in the office and learn from them.
3. Resist social media addiction
As an intern you may find yourself with free time and lots of access to the internet while in the office. By all means avoid falling into the temptation of logging in to your social media platforms every now and then.
Do not misuse the office tech infrastructure.
Exercise maturity and self-control. Instead use any free time to learn new things in your environment and professionally interacting with other teams.
You don’t want to be known as the Facebook or Instagram intern. This will deny you any full-time job opportunity if one comes up.
4. Network extensively
Take advantage of the opportunity to network with other professionals in the office. This could range from other interns to senior staff. Learn from them and let them know what you are doing and your ambitions.
I have seen instances where a different department requested to have an intern join them on full time basis since an opportunity came up and the intern had already discussed with the department’s leader about her plans.
Always do the networking in a professional way to avoid coming across as desperate and disruptive.
5. Ask questions
When you land an internship, use it to learn as much as you can. Ask questions about the company, the team, the industry. Seek to know about the competition and much more.
This demonstrates that you are inquisitive and eager to learn. Such are loved by employers.
6. Outdo yourself
Exemplary performance makes you stand out in the workplace. When you get the internship opportunity, set your eyes on this goal and give it your best. Bring your creativity to work. Challenge old thinking respectfully and show viable alternatives.
Innovative thinking is not the preserve of full-time staff only. Deliver a solution that will leave your boss thinking of a thousand ways to retain you in his/her team once your internship period is over.
Plan to be productive, efficient and responsible.
7. Be part of office activities
Don’t operate in isolation. Bring to the fore your team spirit by participating in office activities including any sessions specifically for interns.
Join your team for lunch or an evening drink, go for bowling with other interns and if the interns have been asked to put together a projects or skit, go and offer your input as well.
8. Ask for the job
Never assume that your supervisor knows you want a full-time job. Just be direct and ask for the job.
Do not wait until when your internship comes to an end or when you see another intern coming to replace before you ask for the job.
By simply asking your supervisor about the job, he/she may even link refer to another team or organization that has a full-time opportunity that matches your career ambitions.
If you don’t ask, it will be assumed that you don’t want.
9. Take initiative and be proactive
Since internship ain’t a full-time role, you will always have some free time at your disposal while other people are fully engaged.
Use this free time to reach out and ask for more work. Look for projects that your colleagues are working – especially ones that you find interesting – and ask if they could engage you. You might find that you learn some new skills or information, maybe even make some new contacts.
No matter what the case is, it shows that you will be a great asset to the team and willing to work.
10. Don’t fade away
Sometime the opportunity may not present itself immediately despite your best efforts. Do not give up. Make sure after the internship is over you still keep in touch with the company, your supervisor and other team members.
It is easy to be considered when an opportunity presents itself when you are in touch with the relevant persons.
Has your internship materialized into a full-time job? Kindly share with us your success strategy.