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How to Turn Your Internship Into Your First Job After Graduation

Apr 11, 2011 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

It’s not easy to get a job after graduation. The unemployment rate for new graduates is at an all-time high—and it’s not so common nowadays to have a good job waiting for you when you graduate. However, some students manage to make it happen. One way to achieve this is by getting a full-time job at the same company where you interned as a student. As a former intern, you have a head start over other applicants—because the company already knows you and knows how you work. Here are a few ways to make it more likely your internship will turn into a full-time job opportunity.

Look like you already work there full-time

Dress like the full-timers, not like a college student. Get rid of flip-flops, distressed jeans, T-shirts, and other casual attire. It might not sound like it’s important, but making yourself look like a full-time, professional employee will make people subconsciously associate you with that group of people in their minds. Your choice of clothing makes a big difference in how people see you, fair or not. Dressing the part will make it easier for you to get the part.

Talk to your manager

Be sure your manager knows you’re goal-driven—and want to get specific job skills from the internship experience. Make an appointment with him or her to discuss your ultimate goal for the internship and the ways you can get there. Be sure, however, that you’re willing to handle any task you’re assigned with a positive attitude—never shirk at pouring coffee or organizing filing cabinets just because it’s not on your overall internship plan. Be sure everyone feels like they can ask you for anything.

Man Holding Folder

Getting a job after graduation isn’t easy. But you can increase your chances by developing strong relationships at the company where you work as an intern.



Ask questions

Be sure you’re informed about how things work and the tasks you’re assigned. If you don’t understand something, ask—it’s far better to demonstrate your ignorance about something up front than to make a mess of a task later on. In addition, asking questions shows your interest and engagement. If you can show, through your questions, that you’re interested just not in how to do your specific job but in how the business works as a whole, that will work in your favor.

Volunteer for extra work

If your department needs extra help, volunteer to give it. Step in to take on an extra task or help a specific employee. Stay late during a busy period even if you haven’t been assigned to—as long as it works with your academic schedule. Volunteer to work in other departments if it’s possible—that will give you a better overview of the company as a whole. Show your work ethic, and your supervisor is likely to take that into consideration when considering you for a full-time job.

Make contacts

An internship isn’t just a line on your resume. It’s also an opportunity to network. Get to know your coworkers, your boss, and your fellow interns. If you get the chance, network with senior leadership as well. You never know whose input might be invaluable in the decision to hire you full-time, and getting to know the people you work with will never hurt you.

Get a mentor

Looking for a mentorship relationship is a great way to develop a close bond with someone in a leadership position—ideally, someone with influence in the company who can recommend you and take an interest in your career. If you can develop a relationship like this within your company, it will be invaluable not just in trying to get a job there—but in picking up new skills and insight into your career.

Keep in touch

If you’re on a summer internship program, you’ll probably be going back to school in the fall. Over the next few months, it’s easy for your employer to forget about you—or for key contacts you made to switch jobs. Be sure to get contact information before you leave. Send thank-you notes to the people you worked with after you leave—and keep in touch with those you were closest to periodically throughout the year. This will ensure that they remember you when you graduate and are ready for a new job—and that they’ll keep you in mind if new positions open up.

Getting a job after graduation isn’t easy. But you can increase your chances by developing strong relationships at the company where you work as an intern. Make sure you’re professional and polite to everyone—and handle every task with a positive attitude. Be sure to dress like the full-timers, not like a college student—it does make a difference. And keep in touch with the people you meet whenever possible, so you can stay in their minds when you apply for a full-time job later on. With these steps, you’re much more likely to have a job waiting for you when you graduate.

Internships 101 -


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