As internship season wraps up, there's one thing left on your mind: Will this turn into a full-time job? Growing with a company as a young professional can be advantageous, and financially, lining something up for next month (or next year, if you're still in school), is a smart idea. The financial uncertainty that comes during the period of time when your internship comes to a close is all too familiar to most young professionals. The leap to full-time means benefits, a (most likely) higher income, and increased job security. It also means you'll make the transition from a contractor (which is what most interns are considered), to a full-time employee, which is a financial advantage when tax season rolls around. If you're an intern vying for a full-time job, it can be difficult to know what your next move should be. I spoke to four HR representatives, all of whom had their own advice to share. Here are seven ways to turn an internship into a full-time job.
1. Keep in touch.
Companies with formal internship programs typically begin discussions with their interns before they leave to return to school. The interns who keep in touch proactively (rather than waiting to hear from the employer) are the ones most likely to be remembered and placed on or before graduation. I often hear from interns that they don’t know what to say to remain connected. One idea is to stay abreast of current news and congratulate or comment on the news to your previous supervisor. -Shannon Breuer, President at Pennslyvania-based Wiley Group
2. Network, network, and then network some more.
Establishing good connections & relationships with not only those on their direct team but outside of the department they work in as well. The interns who understand the power of networking & make it a point to leverage it—they are the ones who have the greatest success. Be intentional about keeping in contact with those you’ve added to your network at your internship. You never know when your paths may cross down the road, and what doors they may open for you! -Dana Brew, 31, Cleveland-based Senior HR Consultant
3. Show your supervisor your work ethic and engagement.
Work ethic and engagement are always the two most important qualities when considering employing someone long term. When they are still in college, it is easy to get distracted for an exam or celebration, but managing their time to ensure they are able to continue to be committed to work and show up on time is very important. Engagement shows they are looking for a career and truly taking the internship as a learning experience. Sometimes interns are trying to check the box for their résumé for when they actually start looking for their first full-time job and in turn miss the opportunity to learn and potentially make the internship a long-term job. -Claire Bissot, Managing Director, CBIZ HR Services
If getting a permanent role is what you are after, try asking the person hiring you what the chances are the internship could turn into more. Most HR people should be honest one way or the other. Ask for a permanent job. If you don't ask, you will never know. Or ask if you can come intern again next year. Some companies love to get that lined up well in advance. Again, if you don't ask, the answer is always no! -Reagan Michaelis, 35, Florida-based HR Director
5. Pay attention to detail.
I’ve been fortunate to work with some really great interns, but I did notice that some didn’t have the level of attention to detail needed for a professional environment. I would hate for someone’s credibility to be damaged for something so easy to fix. -Dana Brew
6. Remember that sometimes it’s a matter of space in the company.
We hired the interns who were not only awesome, but we had a spot for. Not every company can hire an intern simply because they are great, they have to have the headcount or space for them. -Reagan Michaelis
7. Evaluate your work and grow—your manager will notice.
An intern is best served when he or she is aware of their target job. If you are unsure about this, take proactive steps to evaluate your previous experience/internships. What did you do best? What did you enjoy doing? What would you like to do more of in the future? Asking these questions will help narrow down your core skillset and interests to help you determine where you can find success in a permanent position.