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Will Your Internship Lead to a Full-Time Job? Maybe Not

By Maurie Backman – Nov 27, 2018 at 8:02AM

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Many young adults apply for internships in the hopes of gaining valuable experience in their fields, but whether those internships turn into actual jobs is a different story.

Internships have become a rite of passage of sorts for college students and recent grads, and for good reason. Not only do they offer the chance to gain on-the-job experience, but in some cases, they also open the door to full-time jobs down the line.

Or do they?

A recent survey by netQuote, Inc. found that only 27% of internships resulted in a full-time offer. The industries most likely to make their interns permanent were:

  • Finance and insurance
  • Food services, hospitality, and retail
  • Manufacturing

Of course, there's no guarantee that an internship will evolve into a full-time role. But if you want to increase your chances of making that happen, here are a few things you should do.

Older man wearing protective eyewear talking to two younger males wearing aprons and protective eyewear near machinery


1. Have a solid work ethic

When you're being paid peanuts (if anything at all) to toil away at an internship, it's hard to stay motivated to do your best. But if you show up every day eager and ready to work, you'll send the message that you deserve to be a permanent member of that team.

2. Go in with a positive attitude

Internships often involve their share of grunt work, from photocopies to errands to coffee runs. But if you manage to slap on a smile throughout and maintain a positive attitude, you'll be a more desirable candidate when a full-time position opens up.

3. Exceed expectations

At any given internship, you're apt to be assigned specific tasks, which means you have a real opportunity to wow the folks you work for. You can do so by turning in projects well ahead of deadlines and going the extra mile to do a thorough job on each one. If you manage to impress your manager at that internship, there's a good chance your name will come up in a discussion about a permanent offer.

4. Build relationships

Throughout your career, you're likely to find that the people you know are just as important as the actual things you know. If you want your internship to evolve into a full-time opportunity, make a point of building relationships with your supervisor and peers, and stay in touch once that gig comes to an end. The occasional check-in phone call or email could wind up spelling the difference between getting a long-term offer or not.

While adhering to the above practices will improve your chances of turning your internship into a full-time role, unfortunately, there are many factors outside your control that will ultimately determine whether or not that actually happens. But remember, even if you don't manage to land a long-term gig where you do your internship, any experience you get makes you a more qualified candidate for whatever jobs you apply to down the line. In fact, 41% of former interns say they gained valuable hands-on experience in their respective fields. And that's why it pays to try your best and work your hardest during your stint as an intern -- even if all it ultimately does is serve as another line item on your resume.

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