How to turn an internship into a permanent offer

Most companies in the Netherlands offer internships to students. And while no company can guarantee a job offer at the end of that time, it’s not uncommon for exceptional interns to be offered the opportunity to return in a full-time role.

Taking part in an internship while you’re completing your degree can give you a massive advantage when it comes to looking for your first career. The right opportunity will equip you with valuable commercial experience and new skills and if you make sure you really stand out and display a genuine capacity for the role, you might be able to turn your internship into a job offer.

Here are some of the ways you can improve your chances of landing a job offer at the end of your internship:

  • Ask questions. Employers want employees who are engaged and eager to learn, so interns should show the same. Ask questions about the different areas of the business you don’t understand and gain knowledge. Remember, the more you learn about the company the easier it will be to assess how you might fit in on a more permanent basis.
  • Set goals. Outline the goals and the skills you’d like to acquire to your line manager during the first week of your internship. You should also communicate your aims and establish early on what the company’s expectations are of you.
  • Work hard. Sounds obvious, but showing initiative in the workplace at all times will attract more (positive) attention from your supervisor. Try to anticipate what you could do next and ask for more work when you find you’re coming to the end of a particular assignment before you’re asked.
  • Be professional. Take note of the company’s dress code and remember you want to be taken seriously. Observe official office hours, arrive early if you can and leave no sooner than other staff members leave. If there are any big projects taking place with tight deadlines, offer to work extra hours to help get it done.
  • Get to know everyone. Make efforts to meet and greet everyone from the doorman to the CEO. A good first impression can go a long way for an intern. Always be respectful and never engage in office politics or water-cooler gossip.
  • Research the company. Find out all you can about the company before you start and during your time there. It will give you a distinct advantage in understanding the business and nature of specific projects when they arise. You should also try to find out if the company has a record in keeping interns on or whether they’re experiencing a hiring freeze, they might not currently have budget for taking someone on full-time.
  • Be positive. Always appear enthusiastic regardless of how menial your tasks are. Ask to be included in meetings and always strive to be helpful to your co-workers. Showing your interest in other projects could be the first step to getting more involved in them.
  • Learn from others. Many people like to play the part of mentor to interns; it develops their own skill set and can be invaluable to you. Engage with colleagues who enjoy imparting their professional knowledge to you and impress upon everyone that you’re there, hopefully for the long-haul, to enhance their team and their work efforts. 
  • Take notes. Note down everything you’ve accomplished as you progress through your internship. This will come in handy if you’re given a middle or end of internship review. 
  • Become indispensible. If you can bring something new to your role for future interns, you will have truly made your mark and left a legacy at the company – something your employer will be extremely grateful for.

If, at the end of your internship, you’re not offered a full-time position, it doesn’t always mean your chances are over. The company might be experiencing a hiring freeze, so stay in touch and be top of mind for any opportunities that do crop up. Also, having this experience on your CV will really make you stand out from the crowd if you decide to apply for other roles afterwards.

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