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7 Smart Moves to Turn an Internship into a Job

Updated: May 10, 2019

interns at a table doing a project

“You’re hired!” Want to hear those magical words on the last day of your internship? You have more control over that outcome than you think! Read on for seven smart moves you can make to increase your chances of turning an internship into a great job.

1. Act Professional

Hopefully this goes without saying, but acting professional throughout your internship should be your number one priority. If you don’t come across as a mature, reliable employee, the rest of our tips aren’t going to help. So, what’s does “being professional” mean in practice?

• Show up on time

• Dress according to workplace guidelines

• Avoid office gossip or politics

• Limit personal calls

• Stay off your phone

• Use appropriate language

2. Build a Network

Take advantage of every opportunity to introduce yourself throughout the organization. Find out what each person does and how it connects to your role. As an intern, people are often happy to share their experiences, so don’t be shy about asking questions. Say hello in the lunch room.

Get to know your coworkers.

Ask your internship supervisor if you could schedule short interviews with other staff to better understand how the company works. You might discover a new area of interest. You can also expand your professional network within your industry. Be sure to send each employee a LinkedIn connection request right away with a thank you for their time.

3. Find a Mentor

Typically, your internship supervisor acts as your mentor. However, there could be other employees in the organization with roles more aligned with your career path. As you network using the ideas above, identify individuals who could act as a mentor during your internship and beyond. See if there are ways you could assist them during the internship to build goodwill for future referrals

or recommendations.

4. Ask Smart Questions

Show your enthusiasm by asking questions. About everything! You don’t have to limit your questions to your assigned tasks and projects. You can (and should) ask about the company, customers, and industry. Employers want to see that you’re interested in why they do something, not just how it gets done. If you’re worried about taking up too much of your supervisor’s time, write your questions down and go through them when you have a formal meeting.

They’ll appreciate your courtesy.

5. Be Proactive

Like any modern professional, your internship supervisor is probably juggling a million tasks each day. Nothing impresses them more than being proactive. Could you figure something out? Or make an educated guess? Do it! Don’t bother them with obvious questions or twiddle your thumbs waiting for them to come out of a meeting when you could have moved forward. The exception – when it’s an external communication that could make them look bad. Use your best judgment.

If you finish work early, ask for new projects. If your supervisor is busy, read the company blog or make a list of questions as discussed above. Make the most of your time. They’ll appreciate and notice that you’re not just playing on your phone when you run out of things to do. Being proactive during an internship shows you’re resourceful and can solve problems – which are at the top of the list for desirable employee traits.

6. Request Feedback

Don’t wait for your final internship review to hear how you’re doing. Asking for regular feedback

will show them:

• You’re able to handle criticism.

• You’re motivated to learn.

• You can adapt and grow.

Depending on the length of your internship, see if you can schedule a review at the halfway point. You’ll learn if there are habits or trends in your work that you need to improve. By incorporating their feedback and making progress toward your goals, they’ll see an employee with great potential.

7. Speak up

And finally, make sure they know you want a job! This might seem obvious, but some college students use internships to gain experience or test out an industry, so it’s not a given that

you’d want a full-time job.

As part of your networking, mention your interest in working with the company. There might be openings in other areas that your supervisor wouldn’t know about – or think to tell you. It’s also

a good idea to meet with someone in Human Resources to see if there are openings. Ask to be notified if something comes up.


Want your internship to lead to a job? Follow these seven tips:

1. Act Professional

2. Build a Network

3. Find a Mentor

4. Ask Smart Questions

5. Be Proactive

6. Request Feedback

7. Speak Up

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