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Resource Center / Acquisition & Retention

How to Create an Internship that Becomes a Career

To create an internship that’s more likely to become a career, it’s important to focus on building the relationship between the intern and the company.

The letter "J" for Justworks.
Justworks
Apr 26, 20224 minutes

When it comes to creating an internship program, many businesses focus on the tasks that the intern will be performing. However, if you want to create an internship that becomes a career, it’s key to focus on the relationship between the intern and the company.

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In this article, we'll discuss the importance of treating your interns with equality and trust, and how doing so can help you retain them once their internship is over.

An Internship Program with a Path to a Career

The purpose of an internship is to allow students and recent graduates to learn about a specific field or industry, and gain experience in a professional setting. However, if you want your interns to stick around after their internship is over, you should focus on creating a positive relationship with them. Here, we’ve got some tips to help you create an internship program that leads to a career.

Treat Interns with Equality & Trust

To create an internship with the potential to turn into a career, start by treating your interns with equality and trust. Give them the same responsibilities as your other employees, and be honest with them. If an intern makes a mistake, don't try to cover it up — tell them the truth and help them learn from their error. You will show that you trust them, and they’ll be more likely to consider staying with the company once their internship is over.

Keep the Work Balanced & Challenging

It’s also important to make sure the internship is challenging and provides growth opportunities. If the intern feels like they’re not learning anything, they’ll be less likely to consider staying with the company.

To create an internship with the potential to turn into a career, start by treating your interns with equality and trust.

On the flip side, make sure that the intern's workload is also reasonable. If they end up working too many hours, they won’t have enough time to learn and grow. They may even become overwhelmed and decide to end their internship early, so finding the right balance is key.

Provide Feedback

You can increase trust — and add more value for the intern — by providing feedback regularly. Consistent and constructive feedback can help interns understand what they’re doing well and where they have a chance to improve their skills. Feedback should be honest, but it should also be positive so the intern feels encouraged.

Make It a Learning Experience

An internship isn’t just about performing tasks — it's also about learning. Make sure the intern has an opportunity to learn about the company, the industry, and the specific field they’re interested in. This will help them decide whether or not they want to pursue a career in that field.

Create a Positive Relationship

One of the best ways to create an internship that leads to a career is by creating a positive relationship with your interns. Be friendly and approachable, and thank them for their contributions. If they feel appreciated, they will be more likely to stay with the company after their internship is over.

Be Inclusive

Another way to attract interns that stay with the company is by finding ways to include the interns in the company culture. This can be done through various methods, but it’s important that the interns have opportunities to socialize with other employees and participate in company events.

By prioritizing diversity and inclusivity, you’ll show your interns that you value different backgrounds and perspectives, including theirs.

Being inclusive in this way can help the intern feel like they’re a part of the team, and they will be more likely to stay with the company once they complete their internship.

Encourage Diversity

An inclusive internship program is also a diverse internship program, welcoming people of all backgrounds. If you want your interns to feel welcome and appreciated, encourage diversity in your workplace. This can be done in many ways, some of which include having a diverse candidate pool and celebrating different cultures and religions.

By prioritizing diversity and inclusivity, you’ll show your interns that you value different backgrounds and perspectives, including theirs. This may make it more likely that they’ll stay with the company post-internship.

Have Patience

Finally, be patient. It’s such a small thing, but if you put in the effort to increase your patience with your interns’ progress, you’ll likely be rewarded with happy and loyal employees. Allowing your interns the time and space to properly acclimate and learn at their pace demonstrates trust, which can lead to higher performance and greater retention.

Create Better Experiences

Creating an internship that becomes a career takes time and effort, but it's definitely worth the investment. By treating your interns with equality and trust, and including them in company culture, you can help them transition into full-time employees. And who knows — maybe your next intern will be the future CEO of your company!

If you're looking for more tips on creating an internship that becomes a career, check out our internship best practices. We have a variety of resources that will help you create an amazing experience for your interns.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.