Internships Lead to Jobs
Ever considered a 12 week-long interview for a full-time job? Interning can be one of the best ways to get an offer for full-time employment according to reps from Guidant, Deloitte & Touche and the US State Department.
Roberta Campbell (Guidant Corporation), Dolorez Dumas-Aris (Deloitte & Touche) and Ambassador Janet Sanderson (the US State Department) offer the inside scoop on how to nail down that prized internship.
Career Center (CC): What are the most important qualities you look for in an intern?
Roberta Campbell (RC): At Guidant Corporation we look for interns who are highly self-motivated, organized, and pay attention to details. These are qualities that help them to be successful in whatever projects we give them.
Dolorez Dumas-Aris (DDA): At Deloitte & Touche we begin our screening using the firm's standards for academic excellence and courses of study. The most important things we look for once the minimum standards are met are a well-rounded personality and excellent communication skills. About 75 % of the job is relationship management and interns are sent out with clients after the 3rd week. Just having good grades isn't enough.
Ambassador Janet Sanderson (AJS): Although the qualities desired in the State Department vary from department to department, there is always something about a student that suggests that this internship will be a good fit for them. They may have some particular expertise that they can contribute or a particular motivation that coincides with the assignment they are chosen for. Their internship should compliment their education.
CC: Do you hire your interns for full-time positions?
RC: Yes! We focus on our internship program for our hiring of full-time employees directly after graduation. An internship is the best interview we have and we extend full-time offers to between 80 and 90% of our interns.
DDA: Yes! Our firm's goal is to fill 50% or more of our 1st year positions from our internship program. We extend full-time employment offers to between 80 and 90% of our interns.
AJS: We don't keep statistics on the conversion of internships to full-time employment, but we do consider interning to be the best way to educate students about the opportunities available within the State Department. People are much more likely to go through the lengthy process of applying for a position with us if they know what they are getting into.
CC: What advantages do interns have in the competition for your full-time positions?
RC: Because we look at internships as a chance for an extended interview, interns really get the opportunity to show us what they have to offer the company. They have great opportunities to network here. Many interns are offered full-time employment in other work-groups than where they interned: perhaps by someone who attended their final project presentation. They also have the opportunity to get to know the company culture and see if it's a good fit for them.
DDA: Our interns have an advantage just by being here. They are able to network and they learn how to work within our system. Because they already know how to get things accomplished, it's easy to bring them in and get them started. They also know what they are getting into and that they really want to go into this industry. A lot of people think they want to be a consultant, but they don't have a realistic concept of what it's really like. We don't have to worry about that when we hire our interns as full-time employees.
AJS: Our former interns really benefit from the increased confidence that comes from knowing what the system is like. They understand the culture and that gives them an advantage in the application process, especially during the oral assessments. They stand out in their ability to make connections between their experiences and what we are looking for and have the stories to back up their claims. Also, when an intern applies for full-time employment it's indicative of someone who really wants the job.
CC: What qualities distinguish those interns who are given full-time offers from those who aren't?
RC: Attitude is one of the most important factors; successful interns are proactive and eager to learn. They get out and take advantage of their opportunities to network. We also look for students who have some degree of flexibility. Not all our opportunities are in California and we may have more offers for someone willing to relocate.
DDA: Our interns aren't expected to know a lot when they start, but they need to come in with the best attitude: be hungry for knowledge, ask questions, and be open minded. Those who are successful make good use of their networking opportunities, are flexible, and are comfortable dealing with ambiguity. Unsuccessful interns are often those who don't learn the expectations of the job and don't meet them, don't like the kind of work we do, or don't fit in with the company culture.
AJS: Internships with us are very serious jobs; they are given what is essentially entry-level work. Successful interns are energetic, dynamic, can rise to a challenge, and seek to learn everything they can. This is a window into the working world and they respond accordingly.