No matter how much you complain about your unpaid internship during your college years, the potential it offers with respect to future opportunities to build a career are quite understated.
For example, even if you are performing clerical jobs in the summer as a part of your internship, it is important to realize that the experience is what you make of it.
If you are able to look beyond the short term costs of not earning a stipend during your internship, these jobs actually open doors to giving you a unique competitive edge along with some much required work experience.
By employing the correct strategies, you will be able to convert your unpaid internship into a progressive and well paying job. Here is how you achieve this -
1. Getting Proactive with your Work - While the advice of 'working hard' may come to you as quite a cliché, one cannot emphasize it enough. It is important that you treat your internship as a real job. Your approach towards your work can be quite visible to your bosses and immediate superiors, and a great way to set an impression is by willingly taking ownership of all the tasks that are given to you.
2. Take up extra Responsibilities - If you are able to manage your time well, nothing says 'Ideal Employee' than someone who is a go-getter. Offer to take up more work, display enthusiasm and network with people from outside your department to check if there are areas in which you can help. This way not only will you be able broaden your knowledge base and hone your skill sets, but you will also be able to network with different people who may be willing to offer you a full-time position in the future.
3. Get Creative - Try not to hold back from voicing your ideas. As intimidating as it may feel to opine as an intern, believe it or not, being in that position is probably why your fresh outlook will be valued within the organization. With an outsider's perspective integrated into an age old business practice, your employer may just be able to find the right solution to a prevalent business problem. By getting involved in brainstorming sessions and discussions, you can also exhibit to your employers your confidence and ability to innovate and ideate.
Also, no job is a small job. Get creative even with the clerical jobs and make sure your superiors notice how it has impacted your productivity.
4. Making yourself Indispensable - As ambitious as it may sound to an intern try to make the most of your internship by carving a niche for yourself within the organization. Acquire skills that no one else in the company possesses or take up responsibilities which make it difficult for your organization to lose you.
Finally, and most importantly, it is important that you always keep in touch. By keeping in touch with the people you worked with, you can make sure that you are always on their mind in case a job does open up.
With some confidence and focus you can easily convert your unpaid clerical job into a full-time progressive career in the field of your choice!
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