As August gets under way, summer internships are wrapping up and college seniors are looking for jobs after graduation. Commence the trying-to-play-it-cool-yet-filled-with-anxiety emails, networking coffee chats, and hours spent scouring through your school’s alumni database to connect with anyone who might help you reach your #careergoals.
The best way to get a job out of college is to clinch an offer the summer before your senior year, of course. Traditionally, finance and banking internships translate to a job offer, but companies across all industries want to retain talent and extend job offers at the end of internships, except for certain professional industries like law and medicine where you need a master’s degree, says Liz Wessel, co-founder and CEO of WayUp, a job and internship search platform used by half a million college students across 3,900 campuses.
It can be particularly complicated to navigate the job search in an increasingly “it’s who you know, not what you know” hiring culture. It’s a notion that Wessel wants to debunk – that you can only get a job or internship through a personal connection. She says she created WayUp, which connects students to over 10,000 companies, including Google (GOOGL), Disney (DIS), Viacom (VIAB) and Capital One (COF), to “democratize hiring,” whether you’re looking for a job as a barista or a banker.
“Companies are telling us that they’ve invested so much time, effort and resources into their internship programs and then they’re losing a lot of value if they just let their interns go,” she says. “They want to convert at least 50% of those interns into full-time jobs.”
Wessel says businesses are trying to get away from hiring current employees’ younger siblings and fellow alumni, and instead are seeking diverse candidates outside of their pools of familiarity. Companies are expressing more interest in recruiting students who don’t have any ties to the company, she says.
She says companies like Unilever (UN), McKinsey, Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC) and consulting startup AlphaSights have particularly high internship-to-job conversion rates. WayUp details the likelihood of the internship becoming a full-time position in the job descriptions themselves.
Wessel shared three tips for current interns to make the most of their last weeks in the gig:
1) MAKE A BRAG LIST
Keep a list of everything you’re doing that has impact — even filing a cabinet. It’s going to impact the company. They’re probably not going to ask you to do it unless it actually does, so make sure you keep a record list.
2) TOUT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS (big and small)
Toward the end of your summer (but maybe not your last day at the internship) send an email to your boss and a few of your colleagues thanking them for the opportunity to contribute to the company and include a mention of work you’ve done that you’re especially proud of. You shouldn’t be looking for a trophy – it’s more of a gentle reminder that even the small things count: “Hey, I’ve had a great time, here are some of the things I’ve done.”
3) KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Network with as many people as possible to learn about what kinds of entry-level jobs exist within the company that you might not know about. But when you’re going to these coffee sessions, don’t just sit there and say “What job do you have for me?” Ask for advice, find out about their journey, stories they’ve heard, and really come with the questions.
Melody Hahm is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Read more of her work: