Receiving a return offer at the end of your internship experience may be the most stressful part of your summer. Getting a return offer can be important as it secures experience for the following summer, and it bypasses the tedious application stage of getting an internship. I’m Shoham Shitrit, a PCA for the Greene Center, and I have some tips to set you up for success in your internship, and hopefully land that coveted return offer. These tips can apply both for candidates for a full time return offer or returning the next summer for another internship. I have some experience in this area, as I have both gotten a return offer to work part-time during the semester following my summer internship with a start up company, as well as received a return intern offer with Microsoft. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the tips to keep in mind when wanting to ask for a return offer.
1. The process does not start at the last week of your internship.
The first tip I have is to not start the process of asking for a return offer, whether it be as a returning intern or for a full-time position, towards the end of your internship. If your manager has some constructive feedback for you that makes them apprehensive about having you return, then you would have no time to correct and improve your work. Be clear with your professional goals with your manager/supervisor as early on as possible. Keep in mind, you do not want to be overbearing and assume too much in your first conversation with your manager by telling them that you would like to return next year. Still, having an early discussion about whether or not the company even has a return offer process (or if you would have to apply again like a normal candidate) would signal to your manager that you are committed and interested about potentially returning.
2. Advocate for yourself, but also be receptive to constructive feedback.
A really important tip to keep in mind as you go through your internship is to make sure you vocalize your accomplishments to your manager, as well as ask if there is anything you can improve upon in the following weeks. This is especially true with busier managers that may not know exactly what you are up to every day. It’s important to keep them in the loop about your learning and growth, as they will end up being the ones who formally extend a return offer to you. Do not be afraid to be vocal, even if you think it is unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Your team is there to help you succeed, and they all know that you are bound to have questions. So, don’t feel that if they give you some constructive feedback 3 weeks into your internship, your chances of a return offer are gone. That is actually the opposite of the truth. As long as you improve upon the items you got feedback on, you will still be on track for success at your internship. After all, the most important outcomes of an internship is learning and growth.
3. Be open to different opportunities within the company.
Sometimes, depending on your own goals and the business needs of the organization you are working at, the return offer your manager will extend to you will be different than what you originally expected. One example of this can be instead of receiving a return offer for next summer, your manager might ask if you have the availability to work part-time during the semester. This can be done as long as you and your manager are clear on expectations and workload. It can be useful to extend your internship into the semester, depending on circumstances, as it can establish continuity with the company, as well as closure with your project. With business needs and hiring cycles constantly changing during these unprecedented times, these types of out-of-the-ordinary might come up more often, so you should be prepared to either respond to an offer of this sort, or float it as a possible idea to your manager if they don’t think they can hire you for the following summer.
4. Work as hard as you can!
The most important advice I can give you, and the most significant thing you can do to increase your chances of getting a return offer, is to simply be as hard working as you can. Be determined, be persevering, and try to complete your project to the best of your ability. At the same time, you do not want to overwork yourself and work more hours than what your manager recommends. This can lead to burnout, and the cost will be your mental health. Intern managers/supervisors also like to see a growth rate of learning during your time at work. This means that it is totally okay if you come into your internship not knowing much; internships are a time to learn, and managers want to see that by the end of the experience, you know far more about the project and the company than when you came in. When managers see interns that are focused on working hard and have shown a high level of progress and learning, it indicates to them that these interns can be dependable as full time employees or returning interns.
Hopefully these four tips will set you on a path towards success in your summer internship. Best of luck with your summer internship experiences, and be sure to let us know how it goes!