How to Turn Your Internship into a Job

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NOTE: This post originally appeared on The Next Great Generation (

“What are you doing after you graduate?”

I can’t tell you how many times I heard that during my senior year at John Brown University. In the fall of my senior year, I was in an internship practicum in which each student told the class about the internships they had held during the summer. One of the questions asked by the professor was, “Is there an opportunity for employment at the company after graduation?”

This is an important question for each college student to consider during the course of his or her internship. If the company turns out to be a company that you would like to work for, how can the transition from intern to full-time employee be made? Here’s how: 

Stand Out from the Crowd

Depending on the organization you intern for, you could be one of several interns the company will have at any given time. If you want to have any chance to be hired in the future, you will need to make an impact on your co-workers.

One of the best ways to do this is take initiative on projects and have a strong work ethic. As Kristina Peters, managing director and global head of graduate resourcing at Deutsche Bank, put it to BusinessWeek, “It’s not even just about being good now, it’s about being excellent.”

When I first began my internship at the Arkansas World Trade Center (ARWTC), there were times I would not have anything to do. Instead of sitting at my desk playing Angry Birds on my iPhone; I looked for ways to use my passions to initiate change.

I volunteered to take over social media management, created templates for paperwork used at each event, contacted new prospects, and even did a little graphic design. Not only does taking initiative make you stand out, it allows you to use your unique skillset and strengthen the tie between the company and yourself.

Stay Connected

When your internship is done, it is essential to keep in contact with your former co-workers: send them an email from time to time asking them how things are going, tweet them, connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter, or invite them to lunch.

In addition, ask them if there are any tasks that they would like you to perform remotely for them during the school year. For example, after I had completed my summer internship at the ARWTC, I continued managing their social media during the school year, as well as doing some minor design work.

Find ways to keep your foot in the door should you choose to pursue full-time employment.

Know the Right People

As the old adage goes: “It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.” When doing an internship, make sure to get to know the people in charge of hiring decisions. Learn the names of people in HR, and go introduce yourself to them. Develop a strong relationship with your manager.”

Don’t just limit yourself to senior execs. You should be getting to know the assistants, younger staff, and anyone who works in the office,” says Patrick Perrella, director of MBA career development at Notre Dame.

Forming these relationships during the internship will pay dividends when you apply for a job. Not only will the recruiter and employees already know that you and that you will do a superb job, but the company will benefit also since they won’t have to pay the additional expense of training and acculturating a brand new employee.

If you view your internship more as an extended interview rather than a temporary job, these three tips will help increase your chances of turning your internship into a job. The best part of being turning your internship into a job: you will have an answer when asked “What are you doing after you graduate?”

Do you have a story of how you turned an internship into a job? Share your story in the Comments section.

Learn It. Love It. Live It.

[image credit: A&A Photography on Flickr]

About Lawson Hembree
Serving others by building brands. Disciple || Marketer || Entrepreneur || Meatatarian Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

2 Responses to How to Turn Your Internship into a Job

  1. Pingback: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Land Your Next Job [Guest Post] | Lawson Hembree's Blog

  2. Pingback: Six Questions to Ask When Choosing a Job | Lawson Hembree's Blog

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