Internship Advice

Tips for getting a return offer from your internship

Wondering how to turn your internship into a full-time position? Here, we’ll walk you through tips to maximize your chances at getting an invite back.

Michael Yan
Published: (Updated: ) - 4 min read
Michael Yan is the co-founder & CEO of Simplify. Previously a software engineer at Meta, Michael dropped out of Stanford to found Simplify. He is a part-time career coach & Y Combinator alum.
 A person holding a pen completing paperwork at a desk.

Photo by Scott Graham / Unsplash

Congratulations! You landed an internship at a company you've always wanted to work at and—not to anyone's surprise—you loved it. The summer is winding down, and you've decided that you'd like to work at this company full-time. Making that decision a reality depends on you receiving a return offer. In this piece, we'll walk you through some of the Simplify team's tips to maximize your chances at getting that invite back.

A Quick Overview

For those of you that aren't familiar, or are working your first internship, a return offer is pretty simple—it's when a company gives a full-time job offer to a person who interned at the company to join the company again after they graduate from school. The idea is that you've already cemented yourself as a fit within company culture, and showed potential to be a consistent top performer, so the firm wants you back!

The timeline for these offers is variable based on the internship—some managers like extending offers towards the end of the process (this is the case with some investment banking internships), and some internships have essentially guaranteed return offers (this is common in buy-side finance like Private Equity and at smaller companies for software engineers). Typical return offers are extended a few weeks before the end of the internship.

Return offers are one of the biggest advantages of a summer internship. While the process and timeline can vary by company and job, the goal is usually to extend an offer to students before the internship ends. This means that there is a possibility of transitioning into a full-time job right after graduation. This can be very beneficial to a student because it means they don’t have to apply for multiple full-time positions or worry about getting caught in a hiring freeze. It also gives potential employers an opportunity to “try before they buy”. The student has an opportunity to prove themselves and show that they can perform well and add value to the team.

Earning a Return Offer

There's many pieces of advice on how to land a return offer online, but much of it is disorganized and outdated. Here's some of our curated tips on the best way to earn a return offer:

Keep track of your projects: As a summer intern, you'll probably be working on a broad range of projects and across several functions—an experience that makes it easy to lose track of what you've actually done. Keeping track of your projects, meeting notes, etc. all make the foundation for a productive conversation with your manager where you might ask for feedback or discuss your mistakes—both traits that demonstrate maturity, and the fact that you're willing to learn and better yourself.

Hard Work Pays Off:  By putting in the extra effort to exceed expectations and make an impact, you increase your chances of receiving a return offer. Additionally, when you work hard, it shows that you are passionate and committed to the role and team. Pay attention to the little details and be sure to ask plenty of questions. Your supervisors will notice your effort and dedication, greatly increasing your chances of getting a return offer.

  • Don’t just limit yourself to the projects assigned to you—expand your knowledge by attending relevant events, Google Hangouts, and industry conferences. Not only do these events give you a chance to network and get noticed, but they also provide great external sources of knowledge and context.

Ask questions: This might seem hard to do—there's a lot of questions you could be asking, and you might feel nervous about asking something that may sound silly. It's important for you to remember that in the corporate world, people associate your willingness to ask questions with interest, not incompetency.

Focus on Quality & Develop Valuable Skills: As an intern, it's expected that you go above and beyond, and do things that will really make an impact at the company. It's important to remember that if you focus on doing excellent work and developing valuable skills, you'll have a much better chance of getting a return offer.

Get (Digital) Visibility – Interns that actively post, comment, and engage on the company’s social media platforms show the company that they are proactive and engaged. Additionally, you should consider sending out emails or LinkedIn messages to team members, supervisors, and other contacts at the company. This will help to get your name in the mix and put you on the minds of potential referrers when it comes to extending a return offer.

Follow Up: Finally, it's important to stay in communication with your manager and team throughout the internship. Follow up on your progress, discussing your experience, and making sure you're staying on track with the expected timeline. Keeping these conversations going will ensure that your team knows you well enough to advocate for you when it comes time to make a decision.

  • One way to stay in communication is to set up regular check-ins with your manager. This can be weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the needs of your project and the preferences of your manager. During these check-ins, you can discuss your progress, any challenges you are facing, and any support or guidance you may need.

By following the tips outlined above, you'll be in a much better place to receive a return offer from your internship. Doing your best to make a lasting impression, developing valuable skills, and staying in contact with your manager are all essential pieces to making sure you get invited back. Good luck!

Land Your Dream Job With Simplify Today

Now that you have a good idea of what it takes to get a return offer, you're ready to start applying! Make sure that the roles you apply to fit your interests and skillsets—remember, part of earning the offer is convincing the team that you'll be a good fit with them!

With Simplify, you can easily explore and apply for the best internship and full-time roles on the market. We have thousands of positions from top companies and startups, and you can find the perfect job in just a few clicks. You can also find valuable insights and resources to help you ace every stage of the job search process. Start your job search today and land your dream job with Simplify!

Wondering what those ideal roles might be? Take Simplify's quick and easy matching quiz to learn what the right role for you is!