You’ve been lucky enough to secure an internship opportunity with a company, do you want to make sure you walk away with a job offer before you leave?

Opportunities can range from a few weeks all the way through to a co-op year, some may advertise that you could receive a graduate job offer after completion and some may not. Before you start any internship, co-op, work experience or vacation program, you need to consider whether you would like to stay on at this employer for a graduate position, or are you just going to complete this opportunity as a career builder? This thought will set you in the right frame of mind. Don’t forget- once you have begun your internship, re-evaluate the question again as the experiences you have undertaken may have changed your mind either way.

The Undercover Grad Recruiter contributors have hired thousands of interns over our years of experience and want to share insider tips with the 10 ways to turn your internship opportunity into a job offer.

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  1. Treat every opportunity like a potential long term career opportunity. You may go into an internship thinking ‘I don’t want to stay here long term’ or ‘this is just a resume or skills builder’. You should be careful of pre-setting your outlook because often you’ll change your mind due to awesome experiences. Therefore keep an open mind and that way you won’t miss out on anything. Sometimes opportunities don’t come more than once.
  2. NETWORK and do it quickly, these are the people who make the decisions about who stays on and receives a job offer. Internship opportunities are over in a blink of an eye, so by building strong networks around you with your manager, mentors and peers, you will increase your likelihood of receiving an offer and learning from those around you.
  3. Be professional and act like a permanent employee. UCGR contributors have seen year after year interns act immaturely like the work place is university. Remember where you are and who is noticing your behaviour. Be aware, dress professionally, don’t get intoxicated at work parties, don’t be the one person who’s late everyday and watch your language!
  4. Show the company what you have to offer – don’t presume by being the nicest or smartest person in the room that you will get hired. You have to show them what you’re made of and display your skills, learning and knowledge. Don’t be shy to show off from time to time (just not all the time!).
  5. Show your passion for wanting to stay on and receive an offer after your internship in complete. Sounds simple right? We would think so, however year on year we have interns who simply don’t display passion or interest in the organisation, even when they want to stay on. We can’t read your mind. 
  6. Embed yourself into the team and organisation so when your internship is coming to an end, your manager is going to wonder how they will go on without you. But how do I do this you wonder? Complete your tasks to the fullest of your abilities, always put your hand up to help and learn more. Offer advice, input and view points from your generation; you will find this really impresses managers who see things differently to you. Take the time to genuinely get to know people in your team and build strong relationships. Combined, all these things will help to secure a job offer on completion.
  7. Start your internship well informed and educated about the industry, the company and where possible the team or business unit you are going to join. Be that intern that already knows a lot and doesn’t need to learn the basics- but want to learn the complex. Show your ambition by proving your knowledge.
  8. Deliver and be efficient. Whenever you are given a task or information, write it down! Make sure your notepad is always by your side and you are asking questions. Qualify what the task is and ensure you are on the right track. No-one minds if you ask questions to check in, IF you have been diligent and taken notes during the instruction phase. However if you have not, you may be noted as someone who hasn’t paid attention.
  9. Set yourself goals with your manager and mentor (if you get one allocated to you) so you can show your desire and career drive. Discuss projects or skills you would like to gain and development points you would like to work on. Keep a track of your progress and towards the end of your internship- whether you are asked to or not, deliver to your manager and mentor your learning’s, achievements and how this experience has helped set you in good stead for your career.
  10. Enjoy the experience- again, sounds simple right? Too often however, we meet students who whinge and whine about having to get up early, having to spend money on public transport, being tired after a long day etc etc… this is corporate life- so get used to it!! Enjoy it for what it is- skills building, networking, making new friends, learning about corporate life and becoming an adult and hopefully securing a graduate job offer. It’s difficult to connect with negative people, especially those who don’t realise how lucky they are to secure an internship opportunity in the first place; as you know how hard they can be to secure.

These are UCGR’s top 10 tips on how to turn your internship opportunity into a job offer, we hope you read them twice to truly understand the meaning and value of them.

We want to leave you with this quote from Holly Stroupe Vestal, a Human Resources Manager at Bank of America- “While it’s important to treat your internship as a job interview, it’s also important to make it a learning experience coupled with self-exploration”.

Good Luck with your applications and internship experiences.

UC Grad Recruiter.