5 Tips to Turn Your Construction Internships into Jobs
By David Miller and Justin Moore, Project Engineers
All our greatest success stories start with people. Teams of people who are committed to collaborating with each other, our partners, and most importantly our clients, ensure we deliver the results they want and expect. That’s why we view our co-op program as an important opportunity — not just for the students we hire to learn from our experts, but an opportunity for us as well to recruit the next generation of capable leaders to be a part of future success stories. Two of our newer employees, David Miller and Justin Moore, started their story with our company as co-ops. In this week’s blog, they share their personal stories and 5 pieces of advice to help students get the most out of their co-op program or internship to increase their chances of being hired on full time.
As soon as I decided I wanted to work in the construction
industry, Hoar was on my radar. I’m from Birmingham, so I was already very aware
of the company’s impact on our local community and other cities across the
nation. Every time I had the opportunity to meet an employee, I was blown away
by their friendliness. I was surprised at how easy it was to slip into
friendly, yet meaningful conversation. That’s why as soon as I left the Co-Op
interview day at Auburn University, I was glued to my phone — waiting and
hoping for an email from Hoar. I knew the second I got up from that interview
that Hoar Construction was where I wanted to be.
If I’m being completely honest, the first time I ever heard
of Hoar Construction was at the FAMU-FSU STEM Career Fair. I passed by their
table and then headed to the computer lab to do some quick research on the
company before heading back to meet the recruiters. My first impression meeting
the two Hoar employees was how comfortable and relaxed they made me feel. They
both obviously enjoyed their jobs and work environment. They also assured me
there were opportunities available within the company for me even though my
major, mechanical engineering, wasn’t a traditional construction path. As soon
as I got the offer letter for the internship, I signed it and sent it right
Here’s 5 things we both learned and/or applied during our co-op rotation and internship that helped us not only get the most out of our time with the company but also helped secure a full-time offer upon graduation.
1. Act Like You Already Have the Job
It may be a summer co-op position, but when you walk into the office the very first day, act like you’re walking into your first day for a full-time position. I quickly realized that my mentors at the company didn’t want or need a student shadowing their every move, they wanted someone ready and capable to do real work. By taking my role as seriously as the employees took theirs, I was given greater responsibilities and trusted with tasks that were critical to the project’s success. That kind of real-world experience is priceless, but it’s up to you to let people know you’re up for the challenge.
2. Become Well Rounded
During your co-op rotation or internship, you’ll have the opportunity to rotate through several different areas of the company — preconstruction, project management, and field operations. The more you learn and the more you prove you’re able to do, the better candidate you’ll be. I learned that all areas of construction bleed into each other and you can’t just be an expert in one area. The entire project team collaborates and works together. So, the superintendents at Hoar understand the preconstruction and project management process, and vice versa. The co-op rotations are an amazing opportunity to diversify your industry knowledge and skill set very early in your career.
3. Don’t Be Shy
Starting an internship with a team of seasoned professionals can be intimidating, but never be afraid to communicate openly and honestly. No one expects the co-op to know every detail about the task they’ve been assigned. Your biggest job as a co-op is to show effort and to learn. You learn so much more when you accept a challenge, take your best shot at a solution, then review your thought process and the correct answer with your mentor. This shows that you have the urge to learn, the ability to grow into your role, and the courage to ask for help — which is exactly what makes you an attractive candidate in this industry.
4. Build Relationships
Your internship is a short period of time, but an opportunity to build long-lasting relationships. The more people you get to know, on both a professional and personal level, will most likely increase your chances of getting hired. In addition to our time working with employees, the company scheduled plenty of opportunities outside of work for us to get to know people within the company better. If the company you intern with has a social event or team-building exercise, go. Introduce yourself. Shake as many hands as possible. Because if your resume is sitting next to someone else’s with the exact same experience and qualifications, an established relationship will set you apart.
5. Make Them Miss You When You Go
You know what kind of co-op doesn’t get hired? The one who no one misses. Make yourself as valuable to your team and coworkers as possible. When you leave to return to school, you want your team to immediately notice your absence and miss your productivity. This final piece of advice is one you should be thinking about during your entire time with the company. Make every role you’re assigned your own. Make a lasting impression, and you have a better chance of being asked to come back.
For all of our co-op, intern, and full-time job opportunities, visit hoar.com/careers.