And the Offer Goes To…

By Claire Klieger

No, it’s not Oscar time, but the sense of anticipation or anxiety about whether or not you might get a full-time offer from your summer employer can be just as intense for rising seniors.  However, only a few industries (consulting, financial services, consumer products and technology) typically make post-graduate full-time offers almost a year before you would actually be starting in that position. This is because of the cyclical nature of entry-level roles in those fields—that it is common for people to work for two years and then leave—which allows those employers to predict so far in advance what their hiring needs will be for the upcoming year.  For this very reason, these are the same employers that often participate in on-campus recruiting, so, if you secured your internship through OCR it’s very possible your firm will be making full-time offers to some interns at some point in late summer or early fall.

Regardless of what type of organization you’re working with this summer, if you’re interested in future opportunities with your employer, there are ways to broach the topic with your supervisor. How you approach it depends on your experience at the organization and how serious you are about really wanting to work there.  Here are some tips:

1. Demonstrate your interest. Start by thanking your supervisor for your wonderful learning experience this summer. Explain how the experience has helped you realize that you are really interested in pursuing a career in… (whatever type of work you’re interested in at the organization). Then say that you would certainly be interested in future opportunities at the organization and ask if it would be possible to stay in touch throughout the year.

2. Don’t give a false impression. Be wary of giving the false impression that you would –definitely- work there if you had an offer if that’s not really the case. Avoid saying things like, “I would jump at the chance to work here full time” (unless you actually mean it—as in, if they offered you a job tomorrow you would say yes without hesitation).  The last thing you want to do is give the impression that you would accept an offer if made if you’re not sure that’s true. Remember, the working world is small and you don’t want to burn bridges.

3. Express your interest in future opportunities without committing yourself to anything. You could say something like, “I’ve had a wonderful experience this summer and I really appreciate the opportunities afforded me and all that I’ve learned.  I realize you probably don’t know what your future hiring needs may be, but I’d certainly be open to opportunities that may present themselves in the future.” Notice how I didn’t say “love” or “definitely” or “thrilled” anywhere in there?

4. If you had a negative experience, don’t push for an offer. If you know that you would never in a million years take a full time job with your employer, don’t initiate any kind of conversation like this. Instead, figure out how to focus on the positive of that experience so you can talk effectively about it in future interviews (we can help!).

Author: Claire Klieger

Claire Klieger is an Associate Director of Career Services for College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates. She earned her Ed.D. from Penn and did her undergraduate work at the University of Virginia. Fun Fact: Claire spent 11 years in the Middle East and North Africa.