The Delicate Balance of Job Hunting During an Internship

Photo by SuperFantastic

As I sat down to write my weekly post, I was drawing a blank. What to write about? What went on this week and how can it inspire an internship-related post? Nothing. Unfortunately, this has happened before.

So I reached out to the twitterverse for topic ideas. Recent UWW alum Karri Duerwachter suggested writing about looking for a “real” job while still in an internship. This idea triggered my memory of a conversation I had this week with a student considering both internships and full-time jobs for after graduation. Perfect!

On with the blog post…

So, you are interning during your final semester in college or the summer following graduation. Eventually, the internship will end and, while in some cases it could turn into a full time gig, there’s no guarantee that you will get a job offer with that organization when all is said and done.

How do you appropriately job search while completing your internship? Here are my thoughts:

  • Do it on your own time. Job “shopping” at work isn’t uncommon for people already employed. However, there are some dos and don’ts to consider. My best advice for browsing jobs while at your internship: Don’t do it. Will it be tempting? Yes. Is it dangerous? Could be. You are at your internship to work, and you are not being productive if you’re spending your time browsing Hawk Jobs. If you hope for a strong recommendation from your internship supervisor, I would cut the online distraction time to a minimum. Do it when you get home.
  • Update your resume. Your internship experience should help you land a post-grad job, whether directly with the company you’re working for or with another organization that appreciates the experience you have gained. Make sure that you have added your internship to your resume and keep it updated as new projects or responsibilities come your way.
  • Talk openly and honestly with your supervisor. Because it is an internship and because you are completing school, your supervisor should be understanding of the fact that you’ll be job hunting. It would be irresponsible for you NOT to be searching and applying for jobs. Have a professionally honest conversation about your search. Consult with him/her about your resume or ask for advice on field-specific strategies. Remember – your supervisor is now part of your network, and networking is key in the job search.

One final point on job searching as you complete your internship: Don’t just drop your internship if an opportunity comes along. You have made a commitment to the internship and it’s important to honor that. Not only would ditching your internship leave a poor impression with your co-workers and supervisor there, the organization offering the permanent opportunity might question your loyalty. Would you do the same to them if another job opportunity came along? Even as an intern, professionalism is everything.

Question of the Week
What issues would you like to see covered on the UWW Internships Blog?

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