How to Turn a Summer Internship Into a Fall Job

Outside of a full-time offer at the best firm in the perfect location, getting the internship is the post-college dream, offering a chance to settle in for a summer internship, love your coworkers and score a full-time offer before the fall. Boom: your time was an investment in a real job opportunity.

Unfortunately, the fine print is true. There’s no guarantee your internship will turn into a full-time job when the internship is over. However, if you go into your internship with the right mindset you can position yourself to be the best pick if an opening does come up.

If I were starting an internship today, here’s what I’d do to give myself the best chance of turning it into a full-time job:

Identify and collect metrics

This career advice comes from my father who had a military and civilian employee experience spanning 40 successful years. “Whatever you’re doing,” he said to his daughter with a new English degree, “Find something you can track and track it. At the end of a given period of time, you’ll have metrics that prove you were there.”

This advice can be difficult for careers we consider softer, like writing, management, and customer service. However, no matter what you do you can find something you can track.

For example, as a writer or editor you can use your writing software to track how many edits you receive for a given assignment then work hard to have that number go down over your time on the job. As a project manager or account manager you could track customer complaints or feedback each week and take action to have those numbers reduced. Whatever metric you choose to track will help you show you had an impact in your workplace and improved individually over time.

Validate the ongoing need for your position

Companies don’t just hire for a new position because you’re nice and they want to keep you. There needs to be a quantifiable reason to have your position. In reality, validating the need for that position is rarely something you’ll have input in. However, you can use the metrics you collected in your review session to show your manager the value of the work you’ve been doing. And even if you don’t save your internship job, you may show that you would do great in another position.

Make friends a first priority

You took the internship for the opportunity to build your skills and get a great bullet point on your resume. But who you meet in your internship can have a powerful impact on your career. Before you head into your internship, expand your expectations to focus on making friends and building your network. Be on the lookout for a potential mentor or coworkers who will be able to connect you with other companies hiring in your field.

Networking in an internship doesn’t require access to the C-Suite. Even if you don’t think you can “use” someone’s connection, be friendly. Find common interests, support others and practice your conversational skills. Show you’re a good culture fit and that people like you and you’ll be a much more enticing choice if a position does open up.

Getting a full-time offer after an internship is almost never a guarantee. But you can improve your chances of being considered for a job by crafting an experience that makes you a shoe-in for a full-time opportunity elsewhere. Use these tips to give yourself the best chance of turning your summer internship into a fall job.