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Tara Knott: Turning an Internship Into a Job Offer

Geneva High School graduate Tara Knott was recently hired at Tennessee's largest public relations firm. In this post, she shares her tips for turning an internship into a job offer.

“What are you doing after graduation?”

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to your professor, your uncle or a complete stranger on the bus, the moment you tell somebody you’re a senior in college, they will ask you this question.

Thankfully, I now have an answer.

I had been interning at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations since May, but last week, I started as a full-time staff associate, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Ever since I was hired a few weeks ago, several of my friends have asked me for advice on getting a job after graduation.  And while I’m definitely not an expert on the topic, I did come up with a few suggestions – maybe they can help you find your answer too!

Tips for Turning an Internship into a Job Offer

1. Pick the right internship - Look at the entry level employees at the company. Are they recent college graduates, or do they have a few years of experience in the field? MP&F’s staff associate program is designed specifically for people fresh out of college, and that was one of the most attractive things to me when I applied for the internship.

Of course, don’t immediately write off a company if its entry level employees are a little more experienced. If you’re a hard-working intern, hopefully you’ll get a fantastic recommendation that could help you find a job somewhere else.

2. Treat every day like a job interview - After starting my internship at MP&F, I knew very quickly that I wanted to work there, and I decided to act like it. The goal of becoming a staff associate was a factor in every decision I made from that point on, from my outfits to what I posted on social media (and when I posted it) to how late I stayed up at night.

3. Say yes… - This may be obvious, but if somebody asks you if you have time to help, always say yes, no matter how busy you are. The person who needs your help is just as busy, and even if you only have 15 minutes to pitch in, they’ll appreciate anything you can contribute. And if you miraculously find yourself with a blank to-do list, don’t sit at your desk and check Facebook; find somebody who’s slammed and offer to help before they even ask.

4. …But don’t overpromise - Be clear about how much you can really commit. Saying, “Sure! I’m working on research for a client pitch and pulling media clips for one of the partners, but I have a few minutes. What can I do?” sounds a lot better than saying, “I’m sorry; I’m just so busy today.” Chances are, if the person needs more than a few minutes of your time, they’ll find somebody else. The only thing worse than saying no is saying yes and then actually being too busy to meet your deadline.

5. Take initiative - Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings. (And if you’re in a company where they don’t include interns in any meetings, I’d find another place to work.) If the team leader needs to create a Prezi and you’ve done several for class projects, tell them. If they’re brainstorming ideas for a campaign theme and you come up with something creative, tell them. Even if they don’t move forward with your suggestion, they’ll love knowing that you’re engaged and ready to help.

Again, this is by no means a comprehensive list, so I’d love to hear your feedback. What tips would you add to this list?

This post was originally published on the author's online portfolio.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Melissa Pazen December 21, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Sage advice from one so young, Tara. Good for you & thanks for this.
Kimberly Kozar January 14, 2013 at 03:12 AM
Definately don't just sit on the couch improving your gaming skills. If not an itnernship (the number one choice), why not donate your time to a cause you care about? This will keep you motivated as you keep your skills sharp, feel good about contributing and who knows? This might pave the way to not only meaningfull relationships & great references, but it just might put you in touch with someone who can influence a hire!

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