By Tom Anderson
Internships can be powerful learning experiences that let students explore careers in their intended fields. They also open post-graduation opportunities for long-term employment.
In fact, research shows that internships are an important way to jump start careers. Sixty-three percent of college graduates who completed a paid internship received a job offer after graduation compared to only 35 percent of graduates who did not complete an internship, according to a 2015 analysis by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Completing a paid internship in college also gave recent grads a leg up when they began working full time.
Even so, if 63% of paid interns land jobs after graduation, this means nearly 40% of interns don’t have a job waiting for them when they graduate college. Several career experts offer their advice on how to turn that summer internship into a job offer:
Do exceptional work – and ask for more
Since an internship is first and foremost a job, you should treat it like one, says Blake McCammon of Looksharp, an internship and job marketplace. That means you need to perform well on the tasks you’re assigned, but also be willing to go above and beyond what an employer asks of you. An internship could be the start of your future career, so show you’re excited about it by producing good work and demonstrating a strong work ethic, McCammon says.
Interns should even seek to help the entire company, even teams they are not directly assigned to, advises Mark Babbitt, CEO and founder of Youtern, an internship and mentor networking firm. He suggests asking other employees if you can sit in on meetings or go out to coffee to learn more about the company.
Add value immediately
An intern should look for ways to make an impact at the company right away, Babbitt says. “Contribute to the conversation and the mission immediately, Babbitt says. “Find your own niche. Maybe you are really good at social media or computers. Offer those talents in a way that improves the company.” You may have work ideas related to topics you deeply care about, so seek to turn your ideas into assignments.
Brittany King, a recruiter and career strategist who runs My Career In Gear, a career coaching firm, also emphasizes the concept of adding value. “By adding value and consistently delivering exceptional work, interns will make their value known to their organization, in turn increasing their chances of landing a full-time role,” King says.
Be intentional about your next step
Many interns begin without a plan, seeking merely to fulfill their school’s requirement of participating in an internship. But that mindset won’t translate into a job. “If you want to turn your internship into a job, you should make your intentions known from the start and follow through,” Babbitt says.
Have a conversation about a full-time job offer near the end of your internship, says Erik Episcopo, a career coach and a co-author of “The Resume Genius Writing Guide.” “Set up a meeting with your hiring manager to review your performance over the summer,” he says. “If the feedback is largely positive, then demonstrate your interest in staying with the company long term and inquire if there are any full-time openings.”
Sometimes things just don’t work out, and that’s OK, McCammon says. “If you like your internship and want to work for your company but there are no jobs, maintain the connection to your hiring manager and the company,” he says. You can do that by applying for another internship at the company and checking in with the hiring manager occasionally to see if there are open positions.
If a job doesn’t materialize, you’ve still gotten something valuable. “If there is no offer in the end, add it to your resume and get the company to give testimonials on your LinkedIn,” Babbitt says. “Reach out to customers and partners you interacted with during the internship. Build one-on-one relationships with them. Networking is how you get into the job market.”
This article was written by Tom Anderson from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.