How to Turn an Internship Into a Job

Tips for Getting Hired After an Internship

An intern shaking hands as she meets with the group she will be working with.
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Iconica/Getty Images

Many employers who offer internships do so as a way to try out and recruit new full-time employees. Even though internships are a way for students to gain experience and learn more about a specific career field, they are also a way for organizations to try out individuals. Internships let a company decide how this potential employee will fit within the overall culture of the organization.

Many employers use their internship programs as a proving ground for the hiring process and are able to save money in their recruitment efforts by trying out potential new employees prior to extending an actual job offer.

If you are interested in turning an Internship into a full-time job after graduation, you can use some specific techniques to increase your chances of getting hired.

Make a Good Impression

As an intern it is your responsibility to show your supervisor and others within the organization that you have what it takes, both personally and professionally, to fit in with the corporate culture. Taking time to learn about the mission of the organization and what it values in its employees can provide essential information on how the company identifies and defines success.

Develop Professional Goals

Identifying your professional goals and finding a rewarding internship that meets your expectations will be more beneficial to your skill development and future career aspirations than accepting just any internship that's available. Internships are designed to prepare applicants for future jobs and careers, and finding an internship that will help you accomplish your professional goals will also assist you in being a more competitive candidate in your future job search.

Develop a Strong Relationship With Your Supervisor

Be sure to keep your supervisor abreast of your work and accomplishments by checking in frequently and making sure you are meeting expectations. Once you have identified your job responsibilities and you understand your supervisor's expectations, work hard to demonstrate your personal initiative and your ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Developing ​professional connections as an intern will give you a head start in developing a professional network.

Develop a Strong Work Ethic

Establishing a willingness to get the work done at all costs while maintaining a positive attitude gives the employer confidence that you will become a valuable member of the team if hired as an employee.

Complete Assigned Projects on Time

If you foresee a challenge with a deadline on a project you are working on, make sure you notify your supervisor and ask for any input he/she might provide or ask for an extension to get the project completed. Be sure that you offer a valid reason for the project delay such as other unforeseen problems or other work priorities that needed to be addressed prior to getting the specific project completed on time.

Always Follow Company Rules and Established Guidelines

Becoming part of the corporate culture includes learning the established dress code of the corporation. It also means learning time allotted and what's expected for established lunch periods and breaks. Take your time to learn the rules and guidelines expected by the organization before jumping in and making any serious mistakes. Also, check out company policy on personal emails, phone calls, and internet use to avoid any awkward and embarrassing situations.

Seek Input From Supervisor and Colleagues on Your Job Performance

Communicating with employers on your job performance will provide an opportunity for you to improve and make the necessary changes during the course of your internship. This input can be crucial in helping you to improve your job performance through clarification of the supervisor's expectations. Problems can often be avoided once expectations have been openly communicated and everyone is on the same page.

Tackle Easy, Repetitive Tasks With Enthusiasm

The employer will trust you to complete more difficult tasks once they recognize your ability to handle the small stuff. Asking for additional and more challenging work will be accepted more positively by an employer if you've accepted responsibility for the more tedious tasks that are required to do the job on a daily basis.

Identify Issues Not Currently Being Addressed by the Organization

You can offer your insight on problems you identify and discuss how you might solve that problem or fill that need within the company. Employers seek people who can think out of the box and identify solutions to current problems that management may not have yet identified or addressed. Be prepared to offer solutions that you think might work to solve a specific problem or situation.

Develop Rapport With Co-Workers

Employers seek individuals who can work well in a team environment and who have particular strengths that will add to the overall accomplishments of the group.

Show Initiative

Illustrating your interest in developing new knowledge and skills relevant to the position will boost the employer's confidence in your willingness and initiative to do a good job. Showing enthusiasm and offering to attend workshops or seminars will increase your understanding of the business and will make a favorable impression on your supervisor.

Ask for Additional Work

If you do not have enough work to do, be sure to check with your supervisor to see if there's any additional work you can do. If not, check to see if you can assist others in getting their work completed, which may also teach you new skills in the process.

Join a Professional Association

Participating in professional associations provides students with an excellent opportunity to meet people currently working in the field. Through professional associations, students also learn what professional journals people in the field are reading as well as about entry-level job openings that may be currently available in other organizations.

Express Your Interest in Working for the Company

By expressing an interest in the company, you are letting the company know that you consider the organization a place that you would like to work. Even though there may not be any current positions available, by letting your supervisor know that you would be interested in working for the company, you will be more likely to be contacted once a position opens up.

Networking is about relationship building. Once you develop a strong networking group, you will develop a better sense of what it takes to be successful and learn how to create a network that can assist you in accomplishing your career goals. Having a mentor whom you respect will help to make the internship experience much less stressful.

Use Your Mentor

The mentor relationship gives you someone to learn from and a place to get your questions answered. Seek out a professional mentor you trust, and don't be afraid to ask that person questions. Ask for suggestions on the ways you can improve your performance and increase your current level of knowledge and skills.

You can ask what it takes to move up in the field, both in the organization and in the specific industry. Once you establish a strong network and gain experience in your field, you too will have the opportunity to assist new professionals who are interested in breaking into the field.

The professional relationships you develop during your internship experience will also be part of your professional network of people who can attest to your knowledge and ability to do a good job. Your future relationships with your network must be nurtured and continued long after your internship has ended to keep it alive and well.

Express Your Appreciation

Once you complete your internship, a short thank-you is always appreciated and will leave a favorable impression with the employer. If you are returning to college, be sure to stay in touch with your supervisor and colleagues and take the time to inquire about potential job openings they anticipate in the future.

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