10 Surefire Ways to Turn Your Internship into a Job Offer

Internships are the ideal way for students to gain professional experience and "try on" different work environments—but they're also an excellent way for employers to test out potential hires. While it's true that companies build goodwill by offering internships, they're also training potential new hires in a low-risk and relatively low-cost environment. After all, if you've interned at a company before you're hired, you're more likely to stick around because you already have an understanding of the workplace culture and general expectations.

internship job offer

If you want to turn your internship into a full-time position, follow these 10 tips:

1. Keep an eye on the bigger picture

Demonstrate your interest in the company's mission and goals from day one. Ask questions about how your work is helping your team meets its objectives, and look for ways to convey how the internship is helping you develop both personally and professionally. See if there's any opportunity to shadow other departments during your time with the company.

2. Perform intern-level tasks gladly

Let's face it: Interns get stuck with some menial tasks. But so do full-time employees. There will be days spent on data entry or stuffing envelopes, but even if the duty is tedious, perform it with a smile on your face and give it your all. Don't act like you're above an assignment. You'll demonstrate a good work ethic—and an early understanding that in today's workplace, where budgets are tight, almost everyone performs some administrative chores.

3. Develop a good relationship with your supervisor

Look at your internship supervisor as a coach. She likely has an interest in helping you grow professionally, so make the most of it. Ask questions to clarify assignments and request feedback as you go, and you’ll demonstrate your willingness to learn.

4. Maintain a good rapport with your colleagues

Throughout your internship, you'll interact with full-time employees throughout the company—and you can be sure they'll all give your supervisor a review of your performance. By being helpful and respectful, you can ensure they'll put in a good word for you.

5. Meet (or beat) deadlines for your assignments

No one expects an intern's work to be perfect—you're just learning, after all. But a supervisor can and will expect your work to be completed on time. Respecting deadlines is a sure way to show respect to your colleagues and, again, demonstrate your understanding of how your work contributes to the overarching agenda.

6. Be punctual

Be at your desk ready to work at the expected time, not rushing in five minutes late. Similarly, don't push the boundaries of the lunch hour. Punctuality is something you can easily control and is a surefire way to demonstrate dependability.

On a related note, don't shave minutes off the work day. Your supervisor will be impressed if you aren't part of the 5 o'clock exodus.

7. Follow company policies to the letter

Make note of company policies regarding dress code, office space, etc. You don't want to be known as the clueless or arrogant intern who isn't making a good faith effort to fit in. The bottom line is, if you can't adapt to and live within a company's policies, the company's culture won't be the right fit for you, anyway.

8. Show initiative whenever possible

If you finish your work early, be proactive and ask how you can help in other ways. Your supervisor will be glad to have extra help—or you might have the opportunity to assist with work in a different department, broadening your experience and increasing your professional network. Employers want to hire individuals who maximize their time instead of surfing the Internet.

9. Show appreciation for the opportunity

When your internship is over, don't forget to say thanks, no matter what your experience was like. Deliver handwritten thank-you notes to your supervisor and other colleagues who've made a positive impact during your internship. The relationships you build during your time as an intern are just as important as the experience you gain.

10. Ask for a job

Often connections aren't made or opportunities don't emerge simply because no one asked. If you are interested in working full-time at this company, make sure your internship supervisor knows it. If you don't clearly state your interest in potential open positions, he might assume you aren't It's best to get in the habit of being assertive and clear about your goals from the beginning of your career, anyway.

The beauty of an internship is that it lasts for a finite period. If you don't like it, you'll still learn from the experience. And, if you do, it can turn into an ideal full-time position.

Search for your next job now:


Back to listing

The Washington Post Jobs Newsletter

Subscribe to the latest news about DC's jobs market