How I Was Offered a Job Before I Even Graduated

 

Like many students, I juggled internships, along with my course load at school. This internship was different. What happened was completely unexpected.

I was an intern with a pretty prestigious organization. I was at the bottom of the totem pole, a position that was all too familiar.

At the end of the year, my supervisor invited me to their annual Christmas party.

I arrived early and conjured up as much small talk as I could muster. I may have been there for free Italian food — but I left with so much more.

One of the administrators asked about my future plans. During the conversation, she inquired about my graduation date. I thought this was another moment of small talk that would go nowhere. The kind of chat where you ask about each other’s lives though you’re not really invested. I told her about my graduation date, and you’ll never guess what happened next.

She declared, “After you graduate, we’ll create a position for you. We’ve really enjoyed having you here.”

Who me? Wow!

Three things crossed my mind when she uttered those words.

  1. Being recruited feels amazing.
  2. It’s nice to get recognition, as being in school is essentially delayed gratification.
  3. People get positions made for them? Who knew?

Two months ago, she reminded me of this conversation (as if I could ever forget it)! I believe that one of the most powerful things you can provide a person is options. For the first time in a while, I felt like I had real prospects for life after graduation.

The road to this point was long and winding. But, it’s not impossible to enjoy similar results if you follow these steps.


Tip #1: Go above and beyond the “job” description

During the interview process, I was provided an overview of what I would be doing. Over time, I began to go above the typical expectation of an intern. For example, I did so many presentations and tons of writing for this position. I learned how to use Canva to create professional-grade graphics and animations to spice up my presentations. When my skills were realized, people asked me to create flyers, brochures, and edit their presentations.

I also learned basic technology skills. When there was a problem with someone’s computer, it was easier to ask me about it instead of being on hold with the IT department.

I became an invaluable part of the team because I had skills that others didn’t have or bother to learn. These skills weren’t necessarily a part of my job description but really improved our productivity.

Tip #2: Say “no” less

I stepped up to the plate and got out of my comfort zone. I even said “yes” to the things that made me nervous or didn’t know well. This was entirely out of character as a perfectionist. But, I found that when I was open to new opportunities, there were new possibilities. I agreed to help run a cool research study despite my limited experience. This lead to a research paper, opportunities to make a little money, meeting new people in my field, and quality/rare experiences for a student at my level.

By remaining open, the possibilities found me.

Tip #3: Desire and solicit feedback

No one wants a “know-it-all” on their team. Even if you’re the best, you can usually learn from the people around you. Over the years, I realized that I avoided feedback or criticism because I thought I needed to do everything correctly. All I needed to do was be open.

This is key to be able to see things from different perspectives. Before, I was quick to be defensive. Now, I’m aware of how selfish that is. How dare I think I have all the answers?

Needless-to-say, I’ve grown immensely. I’m better able to analyze and think critically about situations. I no longer hid from feedback. I welcomed it with open arms. This is something that my supervisor noticed.

Tip #4: Even with no pay, treat it like a job

I accepted that I would need work experience to reach my career goals, even if it was unpaid. I made peace with this, which wasn’t easy.

Because I started taking the intern position seriously, I made my work a priority. I was already passionate about the nature of the job, but prioritizing it took my performance to another level. I was able to truly get the most out of the internship. Looking back, I’m sure the people around me noticed this, as well.

Tip #5: Take care of yourself

This post has reminded me of how much I’ve worked over the years. In the process, I’ve learned that productivity and resilience require self-care!

Productivity is futile if it only leads to stress and burnout. Nourish your body, do things you enjoy, spent time with loved ones, and move your body.


Main points to remember:

I was offered a prestigious job position before I graduated.

Here’s how I did it:

  • Tip #1: I went above and beyond my “job” description and learned new skills.
  • Tip #2: I said “no” less.
  • Tip #3: I desired and solicited feedback.
  • Tip #4: Even with no pay, I treated it like a job.
  • Tip #5: I took care of myself.

If you apply the same steps during your internship, you will make yourself too valuable to let go.