Here’s a question, how does one go from being an intern to a full-time employee?
Is hard work enough to secure the job? Or do you need to do more, or ask more, to earn that position?
Here’s how to ask for a full-time position after an internship, as discussed by experts.
Career Expert, Zety
Show the employer why you would be an excellent asset to the company
This internship was to show you how things work in this specific company, so hopefully, by the end of it, you know already how you can use your skills to contribute.
You should be able to convince the employer that you are a more valuable asset with the experience gathered than someone from outside.
Subject line: Pleasure to intern with [company name]
Dear [manager’s name],
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to intern with [company name]. It’s been a pleasure working with you and the team on [projects you enjoyed] and learning more about [quality of the company that you admired]. I am grateful to have worked with such an incredible team and to have developed my [skill you developed]
I’m graduating in [month and year of your graduation date] and will be seeking a full-time role in [name of the industry]. Pursuing a career with [company name] would be a dream come true and I’d love to be considered for any upcoming positions on the team. I’ve compiled a list of things I accomplished during this internship, to show you how I can contribute to your company as a full-time employee.
Please let me know what you think and if we could discuss this in more detail. Thanks again for giving me a fantastic internship experience and I hope to work with you again soon..
Founder, Rising Star Resumes
Internships are considered stepping-stones to full-time employment. Companies often make offers to the best interns upon graduation if they have an open requisition.
If there is an open req, you have as an intern, the home-field advantage since you’re a known quantity. Maybe all you’re doing is fetching coffee or babysitting the copier, but make sure to ask questions related to what’s going on.
Demonstrate curiosity; it’s an important trait
When you learn of an open opportunity, don’t be shy about asking the team members you’ve interned with to advocate for you by approaching the hiring manager on your behalf.
Track your activities throughout the internship
Keep a written journal of each project you helped out with to detail your contributions as a reminder for when the internship ends.
Maintain good networking relationships
Even if there aren’t any immediate openings, you’ll be remembered so long as you maintain networking relationships. Networking is a key strategy throughout every stage of your career, but especially when you’re a relatively inexperienced intern.
When your internship ends, collect email addresses so that you can thank everyone who answered your questions. Make a point of following up on any initiatives you worked on or were aware of, and send periodic emails that indicate your interest.
Employers know that candidates hired by internal referrals often are the best hires, and recent data shows that 80% of hires are made as a result of network referrals.
Diane Ravenscroft, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor, Rider University
One of the most essential communication techniques is invisible. Visible communication skills are obvious. People speak to impress and stand out. However, developing communication proficiency requires subtle attention to purposeful listening.
An internship brings any resume and cover letter to life. An opportunity is earned to observe business practices and learn how individuals and teams improve the customer experience.
To secure employment, you must show how you will continue to add value, every day through purposeful listening
As an intern, you have had many weeks to demonstrate problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Now you must relate your unique value proposition to the employer’s short and long-term goals.
To convert your internship to full-time employment you must do the following:
- Listen purposefully.
- Ask the best questions
- Demonstrate how hiring you will support the organization’s strategic competitive advantage going forward.
As a former intern seeking employment, you are now uniquely poised to apply what you have learned and proved how you will ‘pay for yourself’ by making a positive impact on the organization’s bottom-line.
Purposeful listening positions you to explain the return on their investment in you as an intern. By asking informed questions and listening with purpose, you demonstrate a skill required in any customer-facing position.
Purposeful listening will always include discerning when to pause so each person can process information.
If you have listened purposefully while interacting with co-workers, leaders, and customers, you can apply your experiences to continue to have a positive impact on customer acquisition, retention, satisfaction, and loyalty for your new employer.
Related: How to Get an Internship
Associate Professor | Department Chair, Roy H. Park School of Communications, Ithaca College
The very best way to convert your internship into a full-time position is to be a great intern
Conduct yourself on the internship is such a way that wanting to keep you on afterward is a wise and prudent HR decision; a forgotten conclusion.
Lay this foundation by having a positive attitude, being curious, communicating clearly and quickly, doing the work you’re assigned with high quality and in a timely manner, and then asking if you can help with anything else that needs attention.
Make sure to express your interest in the exit interview
During the internship, be sure to express to your supervisor and HR that if a position is available at the end of your internship that you would definitely be interested, and be sure to convey that again during your exit interview. Altogether, the best way to ask is never having to ask.
Founder, The Corporate Connoisseur
When it comes to landing a full-time position after an internship, it is important to set the tone and expectations from the first day of your internship.
Be direct and let them know you are interested for a full-time position in the company
During your initial and subsequent meetings with your manager, you should try to be direct and let them know that you are looking for a full-time position with the company after completion of your internship.
This will not only help to set the tone of your internship but will also provide your manager with the knowledge needed to assist you in that goal.
Send an email request addressed to your manager
Once your internship does come to an end, it is also important to send an email request to your manager, following-up on the request of landing a full-time position.
This email should be appreciative of tone and direct in the request. Below, you can find a sample email that does this effectively:
Dear [Hiring Manager],
I would like to begin by thanking you for the opportunity that you and this internship have afforded me. I have learned a great deal regarding the nuances needed to be successful in a marketing role and have gained a much deeper appreciation for the work which goes into creating a successful marketing campaign.
With that said, I would like to reiterate my original request for a permanent position on the team. I believe that with my unique skillsets and educational history, I would be an invaluable member of the team. I am willing, capable, and determined to prove my success and hope that the determination came through during my internship.
[Your Full Name]
It’s important to note that preparation for asking for a full-time role starts the day you begin your internship.
Treat this as your first 90 days on the job and do everything you can to develop your relationships and make a great impression. Steps you can take to accomplish this are:
- Scheduling a (virtual) coffee date with every person on your team.
- Researching people in the company outside of your department you’d like to connect with. You now have access to everyone’s email, use that to your advantage, and reach out!
- Document your accomplishments and everything you’re learning. This will come in handy when you have to advocate for yourself and explain why you’re the best candidate.
- Get feedback from your peers and supervisors at least once a month.
By the end of your internship know exactly what type of role you want and check out if there are any roles open online or internally.
Related: How Long Are Internships Typically
Utilize your new relationships to let them know you’re interested and use that to get an interview for the full-time role you want.
Write a formal letter citing strengths and achievements throught the internship
Think of asking for a continued position after an internship in the same way you’d write a cover letter for any job application, with a few tweaks.
Write up something formal, because that’s a structured way to start a process, even if you have an informal conversation using the written letter as a guide.
In a cover letter, there should usually be a fair amount of emphasis on the business or organization and what you’d bring to them if you were applying to a job with them for the first time. (Avoid putting too much emphasis on yourself and why you want the job.)
When you’ve already worked for an organization as an intern, you can speak to the strengths or accomplishments they’ve already seen firsthand.
Cite specific projects you worked on or contributed to, or speak of attributes you brought to the workplace which helped you succeed in your responsibilities as an intern.
Directly compare your successes as an intern to the successes you expect to have in the permanent role you wish to land.
These comparisons will help you make a case to your employer that you’ve not only worked hard while you’ve been employed, but you’ve also done your homework around why you should be hired on permanently. Sometimes, just showing that you want it that much is half the battle.
Executive Writer |Content Writer
Be open to any assignments regardless of the task
I think to be a valuable asset to your company, an intern should always be open to any assignment regardless of the task — from making copies to collating presentation booklets to competitive reviews to whatever it takes to add value in an area the company currently short-handed.
In fact, the best 6-month internship programs are those that rotational. Meaning, the first two months the intern is in one department contributing while watching/observing/asking questions of the executives.
As an intern, don’t pass up an internship. In my career, I have seen many find their true calling after spending six months in a job getting insights from those who have “been there/done that”. Inversely, I also saw a few who soon discovered that this was not the career path they were expecting and they soon found a different route.
However, if you find that you truly have an interest in a company, an internship is the perfect venue that is paved directly to your first paid career role.
Nobody says you can’t take an exit into a different sector at some time, but getting your foot in the door is the necessary first step regardless of what you desire.
In my three decades of recruiting, I don’t think I’ve ever interacted with anyone who’s doing precisely the role that envisioned day they received their diploma.
Personally, I can attest, I’ve never met anyone who goes to college with the mindset of “I want to be a recruiter”. But, it’s been the most satisfying and rewarding career I could ever imagine. And, it all started with an unpaid internship.
Marketing Associate, Postal.io
Immerse yourself in the company culture
Get to know everyone personally and you will be surprised how many colleagues will vouch for you as a result. I would consider myself as a more introverted person, but I still made an effort to spark small talk where I could with everyone during my internship.
Similarly, focus on getting close to those in your department and their bosses, if possible. This shows that you enjoy your current role and indirectly communicate with executives that you are a good fit.
Don’t be afraid to step up and help out with some handiwork around the office
They might not be paying you to do manual labor, but many will recognize the extra effort. Even as a part-time or hourly employee, put the odds in your favor by going the extra mile to show you deserve a full-time role and be a great addition to the company.
These are all things you should focus on before asking for a full-time position. Chances are, if you have to ask, you may not have been in the conversation for the role.
If you really want to land a full-time position, your best bet is communicating that in a long-term, roundabout way throughout the course of your internship.