As the end of the summer approaches, many rising seniors and recent graduates are wrapping up their summer internships. Fortunately, many companies do extend job offers to current and former interns. So, how can you make sure that you’ll be one of the interns to make the transition into a full-time-employee? Even with numbered days left in your internship, you still have time to increase your chances of getting hired now or down the road. Here are a few tips.
1. SOLIDIFY YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
In the past few months of your internship, you likely have been introduced to a wide variety of people and you need to make sure that you can maintain these relationships going forward. You should consider asking your manager or coworkers to grab coffee or lunch with you to strengthen your connection and to learn more about them. In these meetings, you can ask your coworkers about their personal experiences in first finding a job — and more specifically, how they might have made a transition from an internship to a job or how they set out on their current career path. Their insight will help you think strategically about your own career plan while also showing them that you’re taking an interest in them on a deeper level.
Forming these bonds can not only provide you with great additions to your professional network, it can earn you a great reputation in the workplace before you finish your internship. If people like you, they’ll usually be vocal about it and will most likely relay their positive opinions when their managers start looking at hiring prospects. You never know who may recommend that you stay on board for a longer-term commitment or who can help you land a future job through a reference or referral. So, try to strengthen as many relationships as possible before you leave.
2. GET ACCESS TO NEW PEOPLE
Depending on if the company is a start-up, Fortune 500 or somewhere in-between, as an intern, you may have access to different levels of leadership (Manager, VP, CEO, et cetera), but you should make it a priority to get noticed by people as high up within the company as possible. This includes producing top-quality work for your immediate supervisor as well as for any other full-time people within the company who may ask for your help with a project. You may also want to consider asking your manager for an introduction to someone within the company in the same department or another one whose work looks interesting — both to learn more about what they do and to make a connection you may be able to leverage after the internship ends. On your last day, you may also want to send a thank-you email to your manager’s supervisor in addition to your immediate supervisor and anyone else in the company you may have worked with. This can be a good way to get on the radar of someone senior within the company while also expressing gratitude for the great internship experience your supervisor provided.
3. DISCUSS YOUR FUTURE WITH YOUR MANAGER
Make sure your manager knows that you’re interested in working for the company full-time. If you have a regular meeting set up with them, you can mention it there or you can set up a special appointment to discuss it. It’s okay to expressly ask about the process for hiring new grads and how you can get yourself included in that process. In this conversation, make sure to strike a balance between being complimentary of the company and grateful for the experience you’ve had and not coming across as too emotional or desperate. Keep in mind that the company may simply not be hiring full-time employees or may be looking for someone with a different skill set, so be prepared for this possibility and keep calm if that is what happens. In any case, you should ask your manager for a review of your performance or a formal letter of recommendation. A performance review will help you walk away with an idea of what you did right and what you can improve on and that kind of insight is valuable to any career. Similarly, asking your manager to write a letter of recommendation right at the end of the internship will ensure that their endorsement of you is strong because your accomplishments will still be fresh in their mind.
4. STAY IN TOUCH
The relationships you made on the job don’t need to end when your internship does. Be sure to connect with each person you interacted with professionally on LinkedIn before you leave. When appropriate, leveraging other social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to stay connected is also valuable. But, for the time being, the safe play is to only connect on these “non-professional” social media channels with other interns and junior-level staff.
Also, if you are going into your senior year, be sure to follow up with your former manager occasionally throughout the year and as you begin your job search. One way to do this is to send an email to a manager inquiring about his or her well-being or about the status of a project that you assisted with as an intern. These communications should be timed around when you believe the company may start to consider hiring new grads. The timing of hiring season will vary by industry with some companies hosting hiring sessions in the fall and others in the spring. If you aren’t sure when your company will begin considering new grads for full-time positions, it’s better to err on the side of caution and contact your former manager earlier rather than later.
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