Most summer interns are now about halfway through their stint, and the tension may be building for many who hope their hard work will pay off with a full-time job.
More companies are using internships to test drive recent graduates, says Yair Reimer, vice president of marketing for the CareerArc Group.
And his company's Internships.com lists 75,000 to 80,000 active internship offers, a boost of 50% since last year, he says.
"Employers aren't posting these internships as a way to give back," he says. They are a way to see potential employees in real workplace situations before making an offer.
Sophia Lammers, a DePaul University student studying marketing and public relations, will return to the Chicago school in September after her internship but knows she has a lot to prove. She is working in the business development division for CareerBuilder, a joint venture among Gannett (GCI), Tribune and McClatchy (MNI).
She says she knows her success depends on going above and beyond what is asked of you and remembering to "always have a positive attitude and be thankful for the opportunity."
Those who want an internship to turn into a job offer should follow these steps, Reimer says:
• Ask questions. "If you don't ask, you don't get," he says.
By asking questions, you demonstrate to the employer that you're engaged in the work and want to understand where the business is headed.
• Keep your eyes wide open. "It's important that you informally network outside of your department," he says.
"Tell them you'd like to learn more about people in senior positions. People love talking about themselves," he says. "Ask the CEO if he or she has 10 minutes to tell you about he or she got started."
• Speak up. You may be working hard as an intern with the expectation that it will get you a job offer, but no one can read your mind.
If you want a full-time job, express your interest and let company officials know that you enjoy working there.
"It's the exception, not the norm, to have (read more here)