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3 Tips for Turning an Internship Into a Full-Time Job

Businesswoman using digital tabletBusinesswoman using digital tablet

The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you turn an internship into a full-time job?” is by Joyce Russell, president of Adecco Staffing USA.

This reminds me of a riddle that I love: There are five frogs on a log. One decides to jump. Now, how many frogs are on the log?

The answer is five. It’s one thing to decide to do something, and an entirely different thing to actually do it.

If you want to be successful in landing an internship and turning it into a full-time job (and beyond), you have to be a doer. Here are three things you can do to get started:

Use your networks
In this tech-savvy world, you can research businesses and internships with a few taps on your phone, but one of the easiest (and often underutilized) routes to finding a new position is through the people you already know. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The individuals who make up your personal network have a vested interest in your success, and they know people who know people. Really, you’ll be surprised at how far your personal network can stretch. Plus, a personal reference is a great way to get your foot in the door of your dream internship (and hopefully your dream job).

Take a hard look
While it may feel like the ball is in a company’s court during your internship search, remember that you have the power over where you choose to invest your talent. Internship managers will be taking a hard look at you, but in order to get the best experience, you also need to take a hard look at an organization before applying or accepting an offer. I always say that people vote with their time, so make sure you are ready for the commitment. Dig deep into what you want to learn, where you want to go in your career, and what that company can offer you. This will set you up to choose the organization that is the best fit for you, which is the foundation for your success.


Put the cherry on top
Once you’ve landed your internship, the most important thing you can do to turn it into a full-time job is find ways to add extra value. Embrace your education and street smarts. Get creative. There’s always something more to be done. One of my favorite examples of this is an encounter I had years ago at a hotel I was staying at. I arrived at the hotel after a long day and had no time to eat before my next event. I asked the front desk for an apple to snack on, but they didn’t have one. So I went to drop my things in my room and shortly after was on my way out of the hotel. Before I made it to the door, one of the front desk personnel stopped me. He was holding a serving platter with two apples. “Ms. Russell,” he said, “we didn’t know if you preferred a red or green apple.” I was blown away that this employee had made such a thoughtful effort. Learn from this guy. Deliver the unexpected. If you strive to bring “apples” to the table every day during your internship, you will earn yourself a full-time position.