Internships at technology companies can be a great way to gain professional experience, build up your resume, and make contacts in the industry. But the holy grail for any internship is a job offer from that company. What does it take to make that happen?
To find out, we asked for the secrets from interns who did manage to land that elusive full-time offer.
Four New Relic employees—Amoreena Hagedorn, Caito Scherr, Josh Stabinsky, and Jordan Streeter—began their time with us as interns and later moved into full-time positions. So how did they do it, and what did they learn along the way? What advice would they give others in the tech industry trying to follow in their footsteps?
Don’t wait for things to happen
Well, for starters, it took being proactive.
“While I was an intern, I made a point of sitting with people from different teams and scheduling individual lunches with people I thought I could especially learn from, either technically or career-wise,” says Software Engineer Caito Scherr.
“Through this process I learned a lot about the company and our services, and about which teams were working on projects that interested me or had a workflow that I thought I could benefit from and contribute to the most,” she says.
Marketing Data Analyst Josh Stabinsky shares the same perspective. His advice to current interns: “Don’t be afraid to share what your interests are and ask to work on certain projects, within reason. The worst thing that can happen is that your manager will say no.”
Josh first interned with New Relic before his third year of college, and stayed on the team part-time throughout the school year before returning for a second summer. He even got the chance to attend the week-long Tableau Conference in 2016 with New Relic, an opportunity he says would not have been possible without following this advice.
“A lot of cool learning experiences have come as a result of my internship at New Relic,” says Josh.
Blaze your own trail
For Marketing Coordinator Jordan Streeter, being proactive during his internship took the form of not just asking, but creating professional opportunities at New Relic.
After being told that there were no available full-time positions waiting for him at the end of the internship, Jordan managed to make his contributions throughout his three-month program significant enough that the company decided to create an entirely new position in order to hire him full time.
“Interning allows you to see cracks where your skills and talents can come in to help improve the company. What’s important to me is to feel like I can actually contribute and get something done. I’m not a career person, I’m a problem solver,” Jordan says.
Find the right fit
While these initiatives were significant factors that proved each person a good fit for full-time employment, to Software Engineer Amoreena Hagedorn, her internship experience provided a chance to “interview the company” and see if it suited her as an employee.
“You have room to test the waters and walk away if it’s not the right fit,” she says. “It is a stress-free trial run.”
Josh also stresses the importance of “fit” with the company you choose to work for, assessing that “you can teach technical capability, but you can’t teach fit.”
The key takeaways? Once you’ve found the right company for you, take initiative by networking and seeking opportunities, and establish your indispensability by using your skills to create value for the company. The goal is to make the kind of significant professional contributions as an intern that will help land you the full-time offer.
“Be patient and trust yourself,” advises Jordan. He mentions an inspiring quote from the most unlikely of places—a 2013 Teen Choice Awards speech by actor Ashton Kutcher: “Everything around us that we call life was built by people that are no smarter than you.”
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