As we approach summer, many at Foster eagerly anticipate what summer holds. For many, what awaits is an internship we spent the Fall and Winter months working so hard to seize. Having now landed the opportunity, how can we leverage our skills as students and young professionals to turn our new internship into a full-time offer?
Having spent last summer as a consulting intern at Ernst and Young in Seattle and returning as a full-time consultant after graduation, I’d like to share a few of the key insights I found most beneficial for landing a full-time offer.
Establish a Broad, Mutually Beneficial, and Supportive Internal Network
85% of jobs are filled through networking. Of which 70% of those jobs are never publicly published.
Allow that statistic to sink in for a moment. As a new ambitious intern, it’s easy to get swept away by work processes, deadlines, and pitch decks. However, subject expertise isn’t built within a vacuum. Expertise is created as a culmination of delivering excellent work, being open-minded, and, most importantly – building meaningful relationships. Because there’s only so much you can learn from a slide deck or final deliverable.
Within the organization you’ll be interning at, be proactive in building a strong and mutually beneficial network. As students, we’ve all built networks of friends, academic colleagues, and mentors. The professional workplace is no different. As an intern, aim to leverage these existing networking skills this summer. Don’t be hesitant to invite a coworker to lunch. Identify managers or superiors inside and outside your practice to better understand the company culture.
Be ready to listen, ask meaningful questions actively, and follow up with a thank you afterward. Networks aren’t built off one lunch but rather a sequence of meaningful and intentional interactions throughout your internship. Look to create mutual wins and rely on your network to support you through your internship. The most effective networkers are broad but don’t allow for the breadth of their network to undermine the quality of their relationships.
Manage your Workload and Communicate Proactively
Our first internships can be a daunting journey into the professional landscape for many students. Our time at Foster has informed a robust work ethic, proficiencies in market research, and many other skillsets. However, a lot about our future in the professional space feels ambiguous and vast. So, as newly minted interns – without much experience or professional context – how do we cultivate a reputation for reliability and consistency?
Luckily, reliability, consistency, and dependability come in various forms. Not only is a reliable employee someone with a wealth of knowledge or skills, but they are often the individual who best manages their commitments and workload. As you begin your professional journeys this summer, here are three fundamental elements for creating dependability through workload management:
- Understand when to say yes, and when to say no: As a consulting intern at EY, it was easy to say yes — saying yes to more work, more networking opportunities, more late nights, and more expectations. Being proactive, understanding expectations, and setting boundaries will avoid burnout and enable the completion of better deliverables.
- Follow-through: As interns, it’s unlikely that we’ll see an entire project or workflow to completion over ten weeks. However, it’s no excuse not to execute every task to its conclusion. You may not be the most experienced employee in the room, but you can become one of its most reliable through attention to detail and consistent follow-through.
- Create a task list. Make it actionable: Task lists can either be a staunch ally or overwhelming adversary. To optimize your productivity, make your task lists actionable and specific. Your task list can help you make the best use of your time rather than create distractions.
Identify, Set, and Track your Goals
By their nature, internships are a sprint, and you’ll be thrown headfirst into training, projects, and networking within ten weeks. It will be a lot, but it should be gratifying and fulfilling.
During my time at EY, setting both micro-and macro-goals throughout my internship helped bring greater meaning and context to the work I was doing. Identifying and writing down personal and professional goals helped shape a trajectory of learning and application. These goals will also allow you to look back better and reflect upon your experience over the summer.
If you aim to shape a meaningful internship trajectory that culminates in a full-time offer, aim to correctly choose goals that answer both the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of what you want to accomplish. Qualifying clear goals with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ will help clarify EXACTLY what you want to achieve.
Effectively forming a ‘what’ and ‘how’ eliminates vagueness and ambiguity in your goal. Often, our goals are vast in scope – that’s ok. However, generating follow-through on big goals requires quick, intentional, and consistent action over an extended period. Developing and maintaining momentum through an important goal requires structure. Using a structure such as the BSQ framework can make or break accomplishing your goal. The BSQ framework consists of three components:
- Thinking Big: You’ve landed your dream internship and are going forth as a young professional from one of the top business schools in the nation; now’s not the time to sell yourself short by only setting small goals. Think big and reach far.
- Acting Small: However, significant goals are accomplished through small and intentional action. Setting incremental milestones will create specificity and serve as the primary driver toward your momentous goals.
- Moving Quickly: Move with haste and intention. Set an attainable timeline and allow yourself to iterate quickly while making mistakes. Don’t be afraid to fail along the way and learn from your blunders.
You’ll be amazed how much there is to discover as you set attainable goals while allowing yourself the grace to make mistakes and learn.
Have Fun and Enjoy the Process
Above and beyond networking, setting goals, and prioritizing your workload – have fun. Your internship is the perfect time to discover what you like, don’t like, and how you want to shape a future career.
Having fun can mean different things to different people. Look for opportunities that allow you to express your interests and passions. At EY, interest groups allow self-identifying individuals to participate in professional networks. Look for these key engagement opportunities to create a professional community. Doing so enables creativity, gives you energy, and ultimately increases your productivity and effectiveness
Post Written By: Connor Fredericks, Peer Coach