Create a future beyond your current internship role

by Cameron Warren and Sydney Olszewski
Marketers at Charles Aris Inc.

Your organization’s internship program is about to wrap up for the summer. You’ve enjoyed your time with the company, bonded with the team and learned more about yourself and your chosen career path. At some point, you may have thought of the possibility to continue working for the company. Whether you’re wanting another semester at your internship or considering the transition from intern to full-time employee, here’s how to learn about your potential future at your organization of interest.

Timing is key

As soon as you realize you’re interested in staying with the organization beyond your internship, mention it to your supervisor or team. Interns have an expected end date, so your team is likely to assume that you’ll want to finish your internship and move on to another opportunity unless you say otherwise. Not to mention, companies are already searching for new interns for the fall and spring semesters. Express your interest and start having these conversations before your program ends. If you’re concerned about “putting all of your eggs in one basket,” stay on the lookout for other programs and opportunities that catch your interest but stay focused! If this company is your number one choice then you must treat it as such.

Put time on the calendar

After mentioning your interest, set out to have a conversation with your team about your future at the organization. Get a time and day on the calendar that works for everyone and stick to it. In your meeting, take the time to describe how you’ve learned and grown in this role, what you brought to the company and express gratitude for your team before asking about potential ways to stay on. State explicitly if you want to complete another internship or work full-time at the company, then see what your team says. Remember: The worst thing they can say is no!

If there is a potential for you to stay on for another internship or go full-time:

Great! Show gratitude, ask for next steps and depending on your path, be sure to take the following into consideration:

If you landed another internship:

  • How can you build on the knowledge that you’ve attained from your previous experience?
  • Do you have any interests that you want to explore more thoroughly?
  • What do you want to learn more about?

Figuring out the answers to these questions can prepare you for success as you start your next internship. Communicate these findings with your team and supervisor. They can help you find opportunities to further engage those interests.

Additionally, consider asking your team for constructive feedback on your current performance and discuss how you can improve. This is a great opportunity to identify any blind spots and ask for advice.

If you’re offered a full-time opportunity:

Congrats! This is one of the biggest compliments your internship supervisor can extend to you. Now it’s time to get to work.

Schedule a time with your supervisor to discuss the transition. Here are a handful of key questions you should ask:

  • How long will the transition take?
  • What will your title be?
  • Will you be reporting to someone new?
  • What are the similarities and differences between your time as an intern and your new role?
  • What expectations does your team have of you during this transition?
  • Can you carry over key projects from your internship?

The big takeaway here is communication. All of these questions are important to discuss and while most supervisors will take the lead on discussing these things with you, don’t be afraid to take charge and start the conversation first.

If there isn’t a potential for you to stay on for another internship or full-time:

It’s hard to hear, but nonetheless, thank your team for everything they’ve taught you and give it your all until the very end! Try not to take the rejection personally. Your team may want to keep you, but they may not have the space or the financial capacity. It’s also possible that your long-term career goals don’t coincide with the organization’s goals—and that’s okay! There will be more opportunities for you that could potentially lead to something long-term.

While your time with this company may be coming to an end, the relationships and connections you’ve made will still carry over well after you’ve finished your internship! Utilize your network and ask for people’s help in securing another opportunity. Ask if your teammates are willing to be a reference, if they can endorse your skills on LinkedIn or even write a recommendation on your profile. Be sure to extend the offer to help build them up as well!

Regardless of the outcome, give yourself a pat on the back for landing an internship and taking this opportunity to learn more about yourself, having the courage to express your interest and asking for what you want.

Interested in becoming an executive recruiting intern? Email your cover letter and résumé to Charles Aris learning and development leader Brent Anthony at brent.anthony@charlesaris.com. Internships run year-round.

Interested in the Charles Aris internship program but would rather hone your skills in research, data analytics, marketing, video production or graphic design? Email your cover letter and résumé to Charles Aris vice president Brian Styers at brian.styers@charlesaris.com. Internships run year-round.