Video: How To Turn Your Internship Into a Real Job

It seems logical that doing an internship would lead directly to a real job with the company you interned for, right? It’s never that easy. While companies may hire a great number of former interns, they usually have way more interns than entry level job openings.

If you want to be the intern that gets the real job, follow our plan:

Video Transcript for: “How To Turn Your Internship into a Real Job”

Brian Clapp, Director of Content: Alright there’s gonna be a little math involved in this video presentation so get yourself ready – pen, paper, pencil, whatever you need – it’s going to be totally worth it.

We’re talking about going from an internship to a real job primarily entertainment jobs like TV jobs, music jobs, radio jobs and film jobs. It sounds like this really logical process… you do an internship, you prove yourself, you work really hard, you network and then they hire you. Right? It seems logical, but it’s never that easy.internship to real job

Here’s where the math comes in. I was talking with my friend John Little the other day, he used to be the intern coordinator at CNN Sports, and he told me that 90% of their entry level hires were former CNN interns.

Sounds great – you think to yourself, 90% of former interns get hired? Awesome, sign me up! But here is where the math starts to get a little out of whack.

They would have probably 100 internships at CNN per school year that Little would hire for. And yet they might have just 10 entry level jobs. 9 of those people might have been former interns that they ended up hiring, so there is your 90% number – 9 of the 10 that they hired for entry level jobs were former interns.

The problem in that scenario is that 91 former interns did not get hired. 91.

So how do you get yourself into the 9 rather than the 91?

I could sit here and give you a bunch of generic advice, about how you have to get into there and work hard, you have to do your best everyday and smile…and all that good jazzy stuff you could hear anywhere.

What I want to talk about is a follow-up plan.

You’ve completed your internship, lets say you’ve done a fall internship, you need to have been networking that entire time.

If you want to be a TV director, you damn well better be networking with the TV directors the whole time and getting their contact information. Whatever part of the entertainment industry you want to be in, whatever entertainment job you plan on seeking, you need to be reaching out to the prime people on your internship that have influence in that area.

What you need to do between the time that you finish your internship to when you are ready to look for new jobs, is keep in touch. You need to follow-up – and what it can’t be is asking. You can’t be asking, do you have a job for me, do you have any leads – because that person is going to tire of you very quickly.

What you need to start with is thanking them – send a personal note, write them something handwritten and say I really appreciate the time you took to teach me about X specific thing. Once you do that you’ve opened up this world of, “this person appreciates me, they are taking the time to write something by hand”.

You’ve started the right type of communication.

After that you need to follow up every month or two and you need to be sharing either some value to them, or something new that you have learned. So maybe you’re saying, I just took this audio class, or just learned camera work, or just started reporting and love to share my first story with you.

These are all good points of communication because you are expanding upon what they know about you without asking for a job. The time will come where maybe you’ll ask for more of a lead – mentioning you are graduating soon. But the point is you have built a relationship and continued a relationship after your internship finished, not just coming out of the blue and saying “hey do you know of any jobs for me?”

If you can start to do those things, and that is how you really start to network, and if you can do those things you bridge the gap between internship and a real job.

It’s not going to work every time, but it is the right way to go about it.

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.


  1. Paula Spiller says:

    hi my name is Paula Spiller…i’am a singer and song writer(sing in diferents languages)…from mozambique,basead in pakistan,am the first african artist in pakistan media…i have composed my album(not yet mastered)still faithing hard to be on international media like hollywood…i would like to prove my talent to the world…it’s not easy for me as a foreing here…but am trying my best to do my work… if you can help me on my carrier i would do my best…just tell how to start…i need people,links to help me becouse a’m doing everything on my own….if you don’t mind please checky my page waiting for your response

    • Paula I don’t normally accept comments that have links in them because more often than not they are spammy – but I approved yours just in case anyone in our audience can help you out. Best of luck, Brian

      • Hi Brian
        My name is Lulwandle im currently doing an internship as a Researcher in the big Tv Production company,when i emailed them asking for the job they said they dont have a job but they can only offer me an internship,i would like to be hired full time here and i work very hard ,what else can i do to impress them? pls help.

        • Lulwandle – thanks for writing in, I can surely understand your frustration. I’m sorry to say there is no singular way to make an internship become a job – just some best practices that we try to outline to give you the best chance. Truth is, when you work hard and network with people at the company and stay top of mind even after your internship has ended, there is a really good chance it can turn into an opportunity somewhere else, or when an opporutnity does come up at the big TV production company – you will be on their mind! – Best of luck, Brian


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