The biggest challenge is always how to put your foot on the door. Once you go past that challenge as an intern, it is your best opportunity to shine.
That is why I am always very concerned whenever I see a person who worked as an Intern somewhere and was not retained.
Once you get an opportunity to work in any company as an Intern, begin exploring opportunities to get retained. It is your business to know who sis who in the organisation. Know the office cleaners. The personal assistants of the bosses. Their family and friends. Know their hobbies and basically get on top of the game by having clear understanding of your stakeholders.
For starters, get to know pains of your immediate supervisor. You want them to trust you so that they invite you in their personal space. They introduce you to their friends and private circles. They share some secrets with you. For this to happen, you need to be available to fix their errands. If it is lunch time, ask your immediate supervisor “would you like to eat out. Feel free to send me for any meal you might want.” At first, they might be hesitant, but if you continue the offer, they may send you. Once anyone trusts you with their food, they are starting to trust you.
As you get close with your immediate supervisor, get close with the top boss most boss through befriending their personal assistants or drivers. This is the best way to know what time they come in office. Coming early in the morning, greeting and asking of what needs to be fixed for the day so that you can champion them, is the fast line to career success. Every employer has some disappointments with their existing colleagues. Some is due to familiarity. Others is burnout. Always there is something not right and needs to be fixed. The challenge is to figure which department has which gap. As an Intern, focus on creating strategic friendships with people who matter.
Understand the person who can give a job and terminate at the company. Become their trusted errand boy/ girl. For example, establish whether your boss leaves early to pick children from school. If that is the case, tell them that you know how to drive and if they can introduce you to the school, you would be willing to help bring the children to the office or home any time they have busy schedules. If you don’t know how to drive, now is the time to learn very quickly. Remember, such ‘small’ skills can really make a whole lot of difference when it comes to success and being retained at the work place after your internship period. If you can be trusted with someone’s kids, then you are already ahead of the pack. This is already a big achievement. You have to be strategic by identifying the critical pains of your boss. Everybody has their own problems. You really must be very strategic. If your immediate supervisor is a married woman, and you are a man, who has joined as an Intern, go slow.
However, if in your foot printing or fact finding about your bosses, you establish your boss is a single mom with a boy child whom she picks from school, that could be a great opportunity. Try to become a friend of the son. You need to find creative ways of doing so. If you succeed, chances that you will be retained are high. It is important to keep the relationship at helping. Do not cross the red line.
You want to know who is who, their pains and the one being called to fix them. Even if someone has a personal assistant, you find may be they come late. If the boss arrives at office at 6:30am, the personal assistant comes in at 7:00am, who is assisting the boss from the time of their arrival? You need to keep ears on the ground and know what needs to be fixed.
You can’t hide an elephant. People will always notice when someone is not around. They are able to know this person doesn’t pretend to do the things only when I am around. They do the right thing consistently. And the boss needs such kind of people who do the right thing whether he is seeing or not seeing.
While working at one of the banks, I noticed that my finance boos always worked late on Friday in preparation for a report to be presented next Monday. Some days, he would come to work on Saturdays and work late.
At the time, everything was being done manually in the bank. As a finance head, he would print reports for the week to analyse top ten depositors, withdrawals and churns. Being good in Microsoft Excel, I studied more about macros and made a small script that automated the process of importing .csv file from the banking system into MS Excel and analysing it to generate reports with set parameters. I called him to my desk and showed him the script. It did magic to his report and he could not believe it. He would get the data from IT, import it to excel and everything he needed came automatically. He was so impressed with me I was promoted from the position of Petty Cashier to an Accounts Officer within a period of just five months!
Interns who go to companies and let them go is a tell-tale sign they are not good enough to deserve working anywhere. Keep your ears on the ground. Notice small challenges and fix them. Be a team player. When you don’t come to work, everybody else should ask what happened.