How to Turn Your Internship Into a Full-Time Career: A Q&A with Jalonni W.
By Andie T., Specialist, Talent Acquisition
Internships are a great way to learn more about the career field you might be interested in, as well as a chance to learn about the company’s culture and gain professional work experience.
If your internship is going well and you realize you’d like to come back to the company as a full-time employee, you might be wondering what next steps you should be taking to secure a full-time offer.
I was able to speak with one of our very own “Schwinterns” turned full-time Schwabbie, Jalonni W., to see how she went about turning her 9-week internship in the Talent Acquisition department at Schwab to her full-time career. Jalonni provided her advice on how she went from an intern to a full-time employee at Schwab, lessons learned along the way, and what she recommends for interns to do who are in a similar situation. Let’s find out what she had to say!
Jalonni: My official title is Talent Acquisition Specialist, but more specifically I work as a recruiting coordinator in the technology recruiting department and I’ve been working full-time for about a month.
Jalonni: I graduated college with a bachelor's in fine art, got out of college, and couldn't really find anything in the art industry, so I started working for Southwest Airlines for about two years. Then the pandemic happened and I had to leave on a severance package. After that I went into the finance industry and before Schwab, I actually worked at another financial institution. I enjoyed the culture, I enjoyed being around people, and then during that time, I was also getting my Masters in Human Resource Management, which I'm still working towards. I ended up seeing this internship opportunity here at Schwab and thought, “Oh, hey, this is nice,” so I applied. I got into Schwab as a Talent Acquisition intern and then at the end of my internship ended, the beginning of August, they offered me a job. Now I'm here as a Talent Acquisition Specialist!
Jalonni: The internship program at Schwab looked very detailed and I talked to the recruiters and they were telling me everything that I would be doing. When I got into the internship program, I realized that the internship wasn't one of those “coffee-getting” internships, it was really a full on experience within Talent Acquisition where we had to do projects and basically real life work. I think that was one of the things that intrigued me was that I wouldn't be just sitting around, not doing anything. I would actually be doing real “Corporate America” work, as you can say.
Jalonni: That time management is a thing. Working virtually, you have to be able to manage your time, be able to take accountability for your time and not just let people take over your time. In the working environment, especially working from home, people will just throw stuff on your calendar and you have other work that needs to get done. So I think time management and then networking. During the internship you have all these opportunities to network with everybody. I even got to network with executive VP directors. Overall, I learned how to better manage my time and how to make connections with different people in different organizations.
Jalonni: I asked a lot of questions. I had fun. I literally soaked up everything. I wanted to go on every project. I networked a lot. I had probably three or four meetings a day just talking with different individuals from the business or even within HR and I just made the best out of it. Now in my current role it’s like everything kind of makes sense. In the internship I learned so much, but I learned the foundation and now I'm learning the specifics of my role. I think if I wouldn't have asked questions, I probably wouldn't be where I am right now when it comes to understanding certain things.
Jalonni: An offer is not guaranteed even though that might be the goal. Nothing is guaranteed, so you have to work for it. I would say, come in and let your manager or whoever you report to know, “hey, this is my goal.” When I came in, I had conversations with my manager every week saying, “Hey, I want to be here at Schwab. What do I need to do to be here?” So just being consistent and letting people know around you, not just your manager, and let them know. Make sure to voice what you want because they don't know what you're thinking. I would just say just be upfront, let them know, Hey, this is my expectation for you. Just like you have expectations for me, just like you're interviewing, it's a nine-week interview for you, you're interviewing this company seeing if this is the best fit later on down the road.
Jalonni: I think it's building that relationship. You’re here for nine weeks and you want to be comfortable talking to your manager enough to say, “Hey, you know, I've really enjoyed it here and I really enjoy being here. I would love to continue to work here,” and just show that passion. Even when it comes to your work, they can tell if somebody is just going through the motions or if somebody is really passionate about a project. In your one on ones that you should have on a weekly basis, just ask, “Where can I improve?” and show that you want to get better for a reason.
Jalonni: They treat me amazing – my manager, he's amazing. The team I'm currently working on a project with, they're amazing. Somebody is always willing to help me and I never feel like I'm alone in this even though I was an intern and I just transitioned over to a full time employee. Everybody's so open to help, they want to help me learn, they want help me grow. They ask me if I need anything. It really doesn't feel different, but I think that also goes with me making connections when I was an intern, so I came in and I already had a support system. Now it’s like, “Hey, now we're on the same team!”
Jalonni: I think it's a well-rounded internship. I'm currently on the intern hiring team and just think how much effort they currently put into the interns is amazing. Some of the information that you get in the internship program at Schwab is valuable information you really can't get anywhere else like during seminars where panelists talk to you about how to save money, how to network, and so on. Schwab literally teaches you everything. It's like a nine-week school course where they teach you everything you need to know to be successful in “Corporate America”. You’re getting a taste of the business track that you want to be in, and I don't know of many internships that you get that real life experience. Even virtually the experience was amazing. It taught me how to be able to communicate virtually, how to set up meetings, how to be organized, and how to meet in a group setting on the computer. I highly recommend if you want a taste of what the real world is, especially if it's your first job, then definitely think about joining Schwab's internship program because it gives you that real life experience.
By Andie T., Specialist, Talent Acquisition