Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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After Summer Internship

Career News Service—You landed the summer internship of your dreams when you graduated from college. You hoped you would dazzle them with your skills, enthusiasm and excellence and they would as you to remain as a full time employee when the internship ended. But that didn’t happen.

Perhaps there was no room in the budget for a new employee. Maybe someone upstairs didn’t appreciate your talents and personality. And maybe this company hires annual interns as a cost-saving device, and never plans to retain them with full salaries and benefits forevermore.

Whatever the case, there’s no reason to take it personally or feel depressed. Hopefully YOU got the most you could from the summer, taking away experience, a network of people in the industry to keep in contact with, and a keen intelligence about how the world of work really operates.

Your next step is to think positively about the great adventure of finding your next job, and Matt Brosseau, CTO and recruiting and staffing for Instant Alliance, an IT, and finance recruiting firm, offers these suggestions:

First compile a portfolio, which is concrete evidence of relevant experience. Ask for feedback and recommendations from any previous supervisors. That should help you determine your strongest skills and help you weed through job postings online to determine where you may be a good fit.

Here are Brosseau’s 5 key actions job seekers should take to pursue another job if a summer internship doesn’t work out:


  1. Gather references. If an internship doesn’t convert to a full-time job for whatever reason, recent grads should immediately seek out references for the work they completed during the program. The direct supervisor of the internship should be a recent grad’s main contact, but HR and colleagues can also serve as powerful connections during the job search.
  2. Begin working with recruiters. While grads gather details from their internship employer, they should also begin working with recruiters in their preferred area. With some experience under their belts, it’s important to seek out resources and guidance on how to best showcase their skills. Recruiters have a sense of which companies are targeting recent graduates, so they’ll be able to direct candidates to the right opportunities. If possible, it's best to start engaging with a seasoned recruiter so interviews can be lined up in advance of the internship’s end. This way, you can keep your time between roles to a minimum.
  3. Contact the careers center at your alma mater. Many universities’ careers centers have an online portal that allows graduates to browse relevant job postings. These tend to be tailored to the university’s connections and employers that fellow grads currently work at. Leveraging connections you made in college can play a major role in securing a full-time position.
  4. Draft realistic highlights of your contributions to projects during the internship. This is most important task a recent grad must complete immediately following the end of their internship. Creating a portfolio of relevant experience is like concrete evidence since you’re able to show employers what you’ve completed instead of just telling them about it. Candidates should showcase individual contributions while demonstrating how they work in a team setting.
  5. Maintain contact with former employees. LinkedIn is a great tool to upkeep relationships with previous internship supervisors and colleagues. This can be as simple as saying happy birthday or wishing former coworker luck on an upcoming speaking engagement. As long as you formed a solid relationship with the organization and its employees, you shouldn’t be declined advice or references.




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