Career Tips for International Students

[Five Tips] to Convert an Internship to a [Full-time Job]

Dear Coach Kwan,

I’ve recently started an internship at a company that I really like and I love working with this team!

I was hoping you could provide some tips on how to improve my chances of landing a full-time position after this internship.

Can you help?

Sincerely, A highly determined international student


Creating Your Game Plan to Successfully Convert Internships to Full-Time Jobs

First, congratulations on this internship opportunity!

This is a milestone that you should be very proud of. I am also happy to hear that you like the company and the team you’re working with! That’s a great start. To anticipate if this role will turn into a full-time position or not, let us look at these general factors:

  1. Is their business doing well? Do they have consistent revenue or funding with no risk from the pandemic?
  2. Is your position a core function of the business?
  3. Will you have access to senior management level or key decision-making of hiring?

Once you have evaluated these factors and you said yes to all of the above, let us move on to a checklist that will help you turn this opportunity into a full-time position.

1. Be a good operator

The first thing is very simple. Be at your best on what you are here for. Whatever role you got hired for, ensure that you meet all the requirements of your current assignments with minimal to no errors. Be very detail-oriented and ask questions if you don’t understand. Show your supervisor that you are committed to excellence, and poor quality work is not your style.

2. Be a great communicator

Just delivering quality assignments is not enough. It is important that you communicate consistently with your team and team manager on the progress of your work or any issues you encounter. Sometimes things don’t go your way, and some young students tend to drop the ball instead of carrying on the task until it reaches its goal. When working in a team, you don’t need to be perfect, but you need to be responsible and communicate well so that everyone knows where you’re at.

3. Socialize with people

All after-work events are great when everything is reopened! During this pandemic, due to ongoing social distancing, you may ask to set up a 1:1 meeting (when the timing is right) with key people in each team you are collaborating with or wish to collaborate with.

Again, this is not part of the job, but it will help you build a relationship and a sense of camaraderie with your coworkers. Ask about their background, share your stories, and find some commonalities, and ask them how you can help them. Also, ask what their expectations are from you and your team.

4. Go beyond your role

Don’t just stay within your assignment. Think holistically like you’re the leader of the company or department. Ask yourself, what are some things that the team can do more to add value or solve the problem, or things that need to be more simplified? When you make a suggestion and gain buy-in from the leader, offer your time to work on it, and solve the problem.

5. Speak in the meetings

For any international students, sometimes, due to the culture that we grew up in, we tend to avoid speaking at meetings when we are not sure or we don’t want to interrupt others when they are speaking or if you are not asked to speak. However, in the US, if you don’t speak, it can indicate so many negative thoughts such as you don’t care or you don’t understand.

Show up and speak up in the meetings. Make a commitment to that. Always say something in each meeting and share your ideas. If you feel unsure about the wordings you can use.

Check these 100 most useful phrases for business meetings. The next step is to ask to present in the meeting. Make sure that key decision-makers recognize your name and your contributions to the company. This is a red carpet for a full-time offer!

I hope these checklist items are easy to follow!

Again, job performance is important but cultural fit is a deal-breaker!

Please follow the above checklist and move your way up to a full-time position in your company!

Free Three-Week Career Strategy Series

In this 3-week strategy, you'll find some great examples like...

  • How to plan your career strategy based on your situation
  • How to create an effective networking game plan to turn your new connections into your mentors and job referrals in the future
  • How to build your brand on a resume, LinkedIn profile, and much more to draw recruiters to you

Please tell us about yourself and I'll send your personalized tips to your inbox!

Let's listen to Andrew - How he converted his temporary job to a full-time job.

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About Coach Kwan

Kwan is an experienced human-capital consultant. Her past corporate experience includes global organizations like Deloitte, Accenture, and BMW.

Kwan moved to the U.S. in 2014, earned her Senior Professional HR certification from HRIC, and joined one of the world’s most prestigious consulting firms as a Senior Consultant of Human Capital Consulting Practice and managed multiple projects for Fortune 500 clients.

Today, Kwan is the CEO and Founder of ICAway, an educational consulting firm based out of Chicago. Our mission is to be an empowering community for international students and light the way for students to find jobs in the U.S.

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