From Intern to Manager: How to Turn Your Internship into a Full-Time Job
By Khadejah Stegall
Khadejah is a part of the TLC College Ambassador Program and attends North Carolina A&T University.
Summer is coming up and that means many dream chasers will soon be starting internships. If you are an upcoming senior or new graduate, you may be looking to turn your internship opportunity into a job offer. We interviewed a game changer, Aliyah Benton who did just that. Benton is a graduating senior, public relations student at North Carolina A&T State University. On campus, she’s had the opportunity to hold several leadership positions. She currently holds the positions of Lady BUGS Mentoring Organization President, the NCAT NAACP Vice President (in which she was President last year), and the Alpha Mu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Corresponding Secretary and Educational Development Chair. Upon graduation, Benton will be relocating to sunny California to work at Intuit as a Talent Acquisitions Program Manager. Benton is giving us advice on what she did to turn her intern position into a manger position.
Q: How did you get your internship at Intuit when you were a public relations student? It doesn't seem like the traditional internship a media student would have.
It is not a traditional internship for a media student! Through the program MLT (Management Leadership for Tomorrow), I was able to explore what different fields I was able to go into, and gain networking and interviewing skills. Through my MLT journey, I gravitated toward human resources because I wanted to be a part of the solution when it comes to diversity and inclusion. I decided to go into the tech space because of how modern and open-minded the space is. I feel like I am able to grow into my career in the technology field. But, for the most part because of MLT, I was able to make the connections to my company and other companies I interviewed with.
Q: Were there any challenges that you faced at Intuit?
One challenge I faced at Intuit was relocating to the area. It was my first time officially living in a different state and being far away from where I am from. Also, a challenge I had was trying to understand the technology world wordings and phases. Because there are so many terms used in the tech world, especially working with potential employees of the company, it was important to know these terms to understand the candidates. Over the summer, I took the initiative to look up a technology dictionary and asked co-workers what those words meant so I was up-to-date and able to do my job better.
Q: Did you feel that you had a lot of pressure on you to perform well as an intern being that you are a double minority (female and African-American)?
I am also considered to be a minority to the 4th power actually, because I am a woman, a minority, heavily tattooed and a member of the LGBT community. So yes, I did feel a lot of pressure to perform well as an intern as a double minority. There are a lot of people I represent and stand for and hope I am representing well. But I only felt pressure within myself because I wanted to perform well at my internship. A way that I overcame this self-worry was writing empowering quotes and hanging them on my wall and putting other things on my desk that would make me happy! Soon I felt at home, empowered and felt better about the pressure of wanting to perform well.
Q: What is some advice you could give to other interns who would like to turn their internship into a full-time opportunity?
There is so much advice I could give other interns who would like to turn their internship into a full-time opportunity
1. Know what you want to do! If the company comes to you with a full time offer, but in a different department, you want to know if you are up for that task. The best way to do this for me was to shadow as many people as possible during your internship. I sat down for 15-30 minutes with people from different teams so I could have a better understanding of their jobs. Once it was time to talk to my manager, I was able to tell her what roles within our department I could picture for my future.
2. Stay positive. During my internship, I was away from my family for three months. So the next tip I would give is to remain positive. Embrace every experience that you get when you’re away! Sometimes an internship or the experience is not what you thought it was going to be. But, it will all be okay because everything is a learning experience.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Asking questions shows that you are interested and want a better understanding of the company. Also, it shows that you are willing to grow and okay with learning.
4. Being consistent is my most important tip. If you show up early or on time, dress appropriately and take on the world in the first two weeks of your internship, that bar should be maintained or increased throughout your internship because it is noticed when you start coming late for work/meetings, not turning items in, always being on your phone and much more. The whole internship is basically an interview for your full time position so you want to stay consistent to show your real work ethic that will carry on into your full time experience.
5. Be passionate! Make sure that your projects are not only something that needs to be done by the company but something you are also passionate about. During my summer, I created the LIFE Scholarship Program, which is a scholarship for underrepresented minorities pursuing their undergraduate degrees. With this project, I was able to tie in my love for service and giving back with ways to recruit new candidates for our company. The proposal was such a hit with my company that it is currently coming to life and we will be giving out five scholarships in July, thanks to my program! Along with that, I also worked closely with a university and was able to recruit their students to attend a Diversity Hiring Event hosted by my company. My last big project was building profiles called personas about African American female candidates. Through this, I was able to interview African American women about what they wanted to see in a company, recruitment preferences and what really motivates them to work for companies. I was then able to present my findings to recruiters so they could better understand recruiting African American female candidates. Thankfully, the outcome of being passionate and doing these projects was I received a Be Passionate Award, two Win Together Awards and was interviewed for a candidate experience video that was later presented at a large meeting.
Q: What do you think set you apart from other interns that resulted in you receiving a full-time offer?
I believe what set me apart from other interns was my passion for my job. It was something that I was very vocal about. Also, my work ethic was consistent throughout the summer. Finally, I think that the overall presentations of my projects and the work that they saw I put in behind the scenes really helped.
Q: Did you have an evaluation done on your performance while at your internship? If so, what was some good feedback you received and what were some things you needed to improve?
Yes! I had many evaluations throughout the summer with my manager. The purpose of the evaluations were to make sure that we were all on the same page when it came to my projects and my progression throughout the summer. Some good feedback I would always get was about my ability to communicate well, the passion I had for my job, how well I fit into the culture of the company and how I was good working on teams. An area that I had to work on throughout the summer was learning how to speak up in the group meetings. I usually would just watch and listen so I could keep up with what they were talking about. My manager wanted to make sure I was standing out in meetings. So I made sure that at every meeting I would at least ask one question and give feedback on two topics.
Q: What are some good habits an intern must develop in order to turn their internship into a full-time offer?
There are a lot of good habits interns can develop in order to turn their internship into a full time offer. First, be yourself! We are all afraid that we won’t fit in with people when we first start. But, being yourself from the start of your internship can show a company that you are unique and bring many different things to the table. Also, I think staying focused. Through being focused on the “full time goal,” that is something that always kept me going during my summer and really made me reach for the stars. Every time I had a down day or did not think I did well on something, I would remember the quote “my time is coming and when it hits the surface people will yield in admiration” which meant to me staying focused and always remembering the goal. Lastly, I believe showing ambition during your internship. Asking for more projects, asking to shadow people and partnering up with other team members helps to show you are ready to work and learn as much as possible.
Q: What are your plans within the next five years?
I have a lot of plans for the next five years! In a few months, I will be moving to California to work for my technology company as a Talent Acquisitions Program Manager. Through this position, I will be helping the talent acquisitions team with planning events, recruiting and doing research on different types of candidates. In two to three years, it is my dream to attend a university and obtain a Master’s degree in Human Behavior or Human Resources. Lastly, by the end of five years, I would like to move up within the Talent Acquisitions team I am currently joining. I would like to continue to stay in Talent Acquisitions to be able to work with recruiters and diversity efforts to bring more unrepresented minorities to the technology space and make a difference for women in the technology world like me.
Q: What advice would you give to a student who is seeking a non-tech position at a tech company?
Any student who is looking into tech companies for non-tech positions should be passionate about their field and hold leadership positions on their prospective campuses. Also, look into a lot of tech companies and the programs they have! A lot of tech companies have programs for non-tech majors and minority students to integrate their workspaces as well.
Q: What made you want to switch into Human Resources when you were a media student?
The more I got into my media major, the more I realized it is not what I wanted to do but I did not want to switch my concentration. Luckily, being a public relations student, I knew there was a lot I could go into with my major. In my Intro to Public Relations class, our professor discussed all of the different career paths we could go down with our degree. Human resources, and recruitment in particular, was something that drew my attention. So from there, I started doing different activities on campus and held leadership positions that could apply to human resources. For example, my freshman through junior year, I was an Aggie student ambassador. Through this, I was able to get experience with recruitment, looking at applications and really selling the university to prospective students.
Q: Why did your boss decide to promote you from intern to a manager within a short time span? What characteristics did you have where she or he trusted that you could do the work?
I believe I was promoted from an intern position to a manager position in such a short time span for many reasons. First, I truly believe my manager, coworkers and company overall saw something in me that I sometimes do not see in myself such as leadership and the values that we celebrate at our company. I also believe a big factor was how well I executed my projects over the summer. I was really able to show my skills and talent through my projects and presentations.
Khadejah Stegall is a college mommy blogger that inspires others to achieve the impossible through the power of Jesus. She enjoys family time, eating vegan meals when it's convenient and mentoring others on professional development. To be inspired by more post, follow her blog at khadejahstegall.com