How to Convert an Internship Into a Full-Time Job — 6 Tips to Move on Up

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 28, 2024 at 9:55AM UTC

As summer internships come to a close, you’re probably eager for the next step. Perhaps you’re returning to school, in which case you have some time to plan. But if you’re in the market for a full-time job, it’s natural to wonder: How do I turn this great internship into a permanent role?

1. Build relationships.

During your internship, work on building relationships with full-time employees at different levels. That goes for assistants as much as it does for higher-level managers. Ask people about their roles and how they got to where they are. Go outside your immediate department and learn about a range of positions and responsibilities. The point is to show that you’re taking a real interest in the business and want to get to know people.

People love to share their stories and will appreciate that you’re looking to hear more about them. Plus, these relationships could persist well into the future, which will give you support during your career.

2. Go beyond the job description.

One mistake many interns make is to do what’s asked of them and nothing more. You may not think it’s not your place to volunteer for higher-level projects, for example, but if you do offer to help out, then you’ll show them that you take initiative. It can be as simple as noticing that a filing cabinet is overstuffed and offering to sort the documents in it or cleaning up an Excel document. These are the tasks that often fall by the wayside, and by taking on the so-called “grunt work,” you're making yourself more valuable.

Try to come up with ideas, too. Even if the business doesn’t end up using them, you will demonstrate that you’re innovative and are thinking like a professional.

3. Be honest.

If you don’t know how to do a certain task or don’t have all the information you need, say so. Don’t pretend and then fail to complete your work. It’s much better to be honest than to do a bad job. More than likely, your manager will give you the tools you need or point you to someone else who can. They understand you’re new to all this.

4. Be consistent and trustworthy.

Always show up on time. Always complete your responsibilities. And always demonstrate that you can be counted on to do your job. Consistency and quality work are key to establishing your credibility as a new worker — and your efforts will pay off not just now but throughout your career.

5. Demonstrate enthusiasm.

You will have to do menial tasks as an intern. It’s annoying, but you need to maintain a good attitude and demonstrate enthusiasm. Don’t act like these tasks are beneath you. If you have a bad attitude, others will notice, and it will reflect poorly on you.

Moreover, make sure you make it clear that you actually WANT to work there full-time. Don’t assume people just know. Express interest in and enthusiasm for the industry and a more permanent role within the company.

6. Stay in touch.

Once you’ve finished your internship, don’t forget to send a thank you note. Try to go beyond the cursory “thanks” and show real appreciation, mentioning specific experiences you enjoyed and valued. 

And continue to stay in touch beyond then. You want to remain on their radar. Even if you don’t get an immediate offer, if a position arises in the future, you want to be the first person they think of.

Remember, too, that your employer may have plenty of contacts in the industry, and they may hear of an opening you could be perfect for. So, doing a great job at your internship and nurturing a connection could lead to a full-time job indirectly, too.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance editor and writer based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab-mix Hercules. She primarily focuses on education, technology and career development. She has worked with Penguin Random House, Fairygodboss, CollegeVine, BairesDev and many other publications and organizations. Her humor writing has appeared in the Weekly Humorist, Slackjaw, Little Old Lady Comedy, Flexx Magazine, Points in Case, Jane Austen's Wastebasket, and Greener Pastures. She also writes fiction and essays, which have appeared in publications including The Memoirist and The Avalon Literary Review. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

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