Many students and grads take internships with the hope of them turning into full-time employment. When you get hired on full-time, you will assume more responsibility, so get ready to step up!
You’re a grown up now. School and your internship are over. You should recognize the expectations that your company has of you now. Susana Quirke, Content Writer and Marketing Executive at Inspiring Interns recounts, “We once had an intern take multiple days off in their first few weeks, with no doctor’s note, as if this were university. This is a job. Unless you have a real health issue, you have to go.”
Many internship programs are very structured. You may been part of a cohort of interns. You may have been given specific project goals and received plenty of instruction. Companies who develop good internship programs expect to spend plenty of time helping you learn the ropes. However, when you begin working as a full-time employee, your supervisor may expect you to be able to perform without much hand-holding. Managers simply don’t have time for that.
“That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for clarification,” says Michele Mavi at Atrium Staffing. “Ask co-workers for pointers or check in when you need to make sure you’re on track. A lack of hand-holding doesn’t mean your manager expects you to know everything. What it means is they expect you to be able to manage yourself and ask for what you need when you need it.” When you don’t know the answer to something or have a problem, follow this rule of thumb. First, try to solve it by yourself. If you’re still stuck, ask a coworker. If you’re both stuck, go to your manager—but make sure to say how you’ve already tried to find a solution. Knowing you first took initiative, he or she may be happier to jump in and help.
Enjoy your new responsibility! “A full-time employee will always be given more responsibility than an intern,” Susanna says. “You’ll be held to account in a way that you weren’t before, and expected to meet targets reliably. That’s why you’re paid, after all.” But the lack of direct hand-holding should be a good thing for you and your career. As Susanna puts it, many managers will let you “roam where you will, so long as you bring back the goods.”
Don’t stop proving your worth just because you’ve been hired on full-time. “While there certainly may be a honeymoon period once you officially gain employee status, know that proving yourself doesn’t end with being hired. In fact, it’s just the beginning of the process,” says Michele. If you didn’t go through an evaluation or review process as an intern, you likely will as an employee. One way to think of your review, says Michele, is to “keep in mind is that as an employee you’re a cost. A cost to the company and to your department.” Your company is making an investment in you, and your job is to help them remain convinced that you’re worth it. “At least once a year, your boss will have to justify the cost of your salary against the value you provide.” Michele advises that you “strive to add value wherever possible and growth will be your reward.”
Michele Mavi has nearly 15 years of experience as a recruiter, interview coach, and resume writer. She is Atrium Staffing’s resident career expert, as well as director of internal recruiting and content development. She also founded Angel Films, a division of Atrium Staffing focused on the creation of recruiting and training videos. Connect with Michele on LinkedIn.