Surveys show that employers hire more than a third of their interns as full-time employees. Give yourself an edge by following these proactive strategies for turning an internship into a career.
Choose the right internship. If you want an internship to turn into a full-time position, make sure you choose the right internship for you from the beginning. Internships can be a great way to gain experience in different fields, but not every opportunity is the right place for you to start your career. Choose an internship that relates closely to your dream job or can help you get there. If you wouldn’t be interested in a full-time position at the company, then don’t choose an internship there.
Be professional and bold. Throughout the course of your internship, it’s important that your employer sees you in a positive light. Remember, when you’re an intern your every move is being scrutinized. Always dress and act professionally while you’re in the office. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at meetings or to take on extra work. Show your employer that you are assertive, but not overbearing and willing to go the extra mile for the company.
Meet with your manager and set goals. At the start of your internship, ask to meet with your manager. Be honest about your interests and career goals. Let them know what you want to accomplish during your internship and what you want to accomplish throughout your professional life. This isn’t the time to flat out ask for a permanent position, but it is a great way to lay down the groundwork and show your dedication and interest in the company. Also consider meeting with your manager regularly and asking for feedback to see where you can improve.
Attend all intern activities and work events. Larger companies that hire many interns often hold events for interns, as well as general work events. Attend most, if not all of these events. In addition to showing interest in the company culture and getting to know your peers, these events can also be a great networking opportunity. Making a good impression on the people within the company — especially those who make the hiring decisions — can only help you when a position opens up.
Keep in touch after the internship. If the company doesn’t hire you after the internship ends or if it was a summer internship and you’re continuing school in the fall, make sure you leave on good terms and keep in touch. Don’t be afraid to be persistent. Contact the company periodically, letting them know you’re still interested in working for them and asking if there are any openings. If you’re looking for a position after graduation, ask if you can continue to put in 5-10 hours a week during the semester. That way you are still involved with the company even when you can’t direct your full attention to the work.