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How to go from intern to employee

Here's one way to make something out of nothing. Turn your unpaid,unappreciated summer internship into a salaried job: cha-ching.

Here's one way to make something out of nothing. Turn your unpaid, unappreciated summer internship into a salaried job: cha-ching.

And yet, the giant leap from intern wolf pack to payroll happens less regularly than graduating seniors often assume, career counsellors warn.

"Students shouldn't put too much pressure on themselves to turn their specific internships into jobs," author Lauren Berger, the self-proclaimed “Intern Queen” says. "The reality is that not every internship is used as a recruitment tool."

That said, make the right impression, and your corporate overlords and fellow interns could be the link to your first out-of-college job.

"Really, really focus on building your network at your internship and build real relationships with as many executives, coordinators, assistants as you can," Berger encourages. "When you leave it's important to stay in touch with those people and let them know what it is you want to do."

Not every internship is a sure leg up, The Internship Bible author Samer Hamadeh cautions.

"But even bad internships help you figure out the jobs you don't want," he notes. Or can lead to the jobs you do, he adds.

"While you're there, get lunch with assistants —they can be more effective than a higher level executive," Berger suggests. "They're in the loop. They know what jobs are available, where they're available."

Before you go

"End of internship preparations should start two weeks before the end date," advises Berger. "Request your letters of recommendations early. Executives take forever on those."

Make sure you get coffee or lunch with your intern coordinator, too, she adds. "That's the time for the student, if they are interested in a job, to express that," she explains.

Keep in touch

"Anyone who you meet during the internship, keep track of those people's first and last names, and when it comes time to leave the internship, any executive, any employee who helped you, even the janitor, write a thank you note, handwritten," Berger urges. "Three times a year — fall, spring, summer —you want to reach out to those people."