Does a Repeat Internship Make a Job Offer More Likely?

June 21, 2016

Are students who repeat an internship with an employer more likely to convert to a full time offer?

This is a really important question that you need to get your arms around in that, if you were to get an internship between your sophomore and junior year and then be asked back for a repeat internship, you have to forego a potential internship with another company between your junior and senior year.

Before I give you some advice, here are the facts:

New research shows the benefits from taking a second internship or co-op with the same company had little effect on whether or not that person accepted an offer for full time employment. However, a repeat internship or co-op did affect their ability to GET an offer considerably.

Nearly 90% of returning interns received offers and 90% of those accepted them. This is in comparison with 43.5% of non-returning interns that were offered jobs where they interned.

As for co-ops, 58% of returning co-ops received offers whereas only 41% were non-returners. Regarding accepting offers, both groups had nearly the same results with returners accepting 75% of the time and non-returners 76%.

The study went on to say that employers converted 51.7% of their interns to full time employees. For co-ops, the conversion rate was only 37.8%.

The Lesson: The road to multiple job offers from campus is paved with internships. This is serious business, both strategically and tactically:

Tactical Considerations

You have to plan for the fact that you only have three summers available to get internships over a four-year experience. The first such opening, the freshman/sophomore summer, is the hardest one to score because the hiring horizon is so far off.

This is precisely why your search for employment must begin as you step on campus. It is OK to not be prepared as you walk on campus but it is NOT acceptable for you to not be prepared or participate in the Fall Career Fair. Even if you do not know what you want to do or where your passion intersects with a career, the search itself for an internship will be revealing. Getting a freshman/sophomore internship even if you ultimately decided 'you don 't want to be with that employer ' is far better than shoveling burgers or working at the community pool where you grew up.

A productive byproduct of the freshman/sophomore internship search itself, even if you don 't get one (remember it is the hardest to get) is that you:

  • Begin to network with the campus recruiters who will be back next year
  • Get good at searching
  • Begin to discover options and roles that you might want to target in the future

For upperclassmen, again, internships are essential. 

Strategic Considerations 

If you get an internship, do well at it (remember it is a 60 day job interview), and get asked back, then selecting the 'right ' internship in the first place is paramount. You might face the decision of foregoing another try with another employer to return, so the ideal plan is to intern where you would want to begin your career. The way to do that is with lots of research and putting yourself in position to have more than one good choice. Again, ideally you take internships where you ultimately would love to work.

One Final Thought

If you have multiple offers to intern and have to turn one down, be careful to be respectful and leave the door open for an offer from the company in the future. The fact that they once wanted you and that you are likely to have an offer from another, validates that you are an exceptional, high-potential candidate. Unless you burned a bridge, they too are probably going to keep the door open for that first step in your amazing career.

by Alan J. McMillan 

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