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I work as a student in a renowned E-commerce company as a software developer. As I’m still studying, I am obliged to do an internship for a whole semester. I’ve chosen to apply in other companies and got a commitment from a software development lab in another country which offers a high salary and works with the technology I’d like to make my main field in the future.

I like working at my current workplace. The reasons I’ve applied in that specific company (and not choosing my current one for the internship) are:

  • The low salary in my current company
  • Right now, I’m not working with the technologies I’d like to work in the future. Nevertheless, I’m always open minded for other technologies (they helped me understanding more about software development and those projects I worked at look good on my CV), but I’d like to get really good at that specific technology, which the offering company mainly uses.

My chapter lead at the current company approached me after one of my co-workers has told him, that I won’t be in that company for long anymore. (And I’m fine with that, we didn’t talk about a contract extension, so I didn’t see the need of telling him that I’ll work at another company). He asked me for how long I will work as an intern in that other company and if returning to my current workplace would be an option after my internship. I said that I will keep that option in mind and he offered me to approach him after my internship. I’d like to return to that company because working conditions there are quite good and I work flextime, so I have much freedom to organize my working hours around my studying schedule.

I remember that this chapter lead told me in my job interview that the salary for working students is fixed. At this time, I didn’t even think about talking about money, because I mainly was grateful for the experience I will receive.

My question now is:

How and when do I approach my chapter lead for a higher salary after my internship?

Keep in mind, that my current company is a client of the company I’ll do my internship in, i.e. we are using their product (but not the department I’m working in right now). My company is also using that one technology I’d like to get better with, so I would have a higher value for them.

  • As far as I understood it - yes. I search for a way to convince him (so that he can convince the HR-Department) nevertheless. I should have mentioned that the students salary is fixed. Maybe an option would be not having a students contract but a part time contract. – Jamie Mar 5 at 19:31
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Note: I am assuming that the internship is only for 3 months as that is the usual length of a semester. If it's significantly longer you might want to consider trying to keep in touch with your lead in the mean time so the connection isn't lost.

If you haven't finished your contract yet you could next mention this to him as part of a goodbye message wherein you thank him for everything he has helped you to learn while working for him and reiterate that you intend to reach out to him when your internship draws to a close.

Otherwise, the next time you contact your lead should be shortly before finishing your internship. You need to wait until this point as it is often difficult for the company to know what positions it will need to fill in the future while it is generally apparent what needs to be filled immediately.

At this point you need to decide what salary you are willing to accept.

If you would require a raise to go back to the current company

You should be proactive about this and look into if your current company is currently looking to higher any [level above student] roles before contacting your lead (ideally a role utilizing the technology you will be gaining experience with during your internship).

Assuming such a role exists, you can then contact your lead as agreed, explaining that you have noticed they are currently advertising for a position you feel suited too and that you plan to apply for it. You can then ask for any advice he may have regarding the application and also inquire if there are any other similar positions available that you could be considered for.

If on the other hand they are not currently advertising any such positions, you instead approach him saying that your internship is coming to an end shortly and asking if there are any part time [level above student] roles in the company that you could be considered for. If he responds by offering a student level role you should thank him but let him no that unfortunately you now require a higher salary than before (you don't need to give a reason) and it is your understanding that the student roles are fixed at a salary point you couldn't make work - you can then ask if this is still the case and go from there.

If you would be willing to go back on your existing terms (but would still prefer a raise)

You should approach this is broadly the same way except when you research open roles you can also consider any student roles that might be a good fit. Regardless of whether these exist though you can still ask if there are any open more senior roles.

If there is nothing available apart from student role that he thinks you are suited to, you can proceed to apply to any open of a student positions / offers he makes. The while in the role you can then apply for any internal promotions opportunities as they come up.

As a final point you should note that flex time is now quite common. It may be possible to find similar flexibility at other employers and you should look into how common this perk is in your area before deciding whether you would be willing to go back on your existing terms.

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How and when do I approach my chapter lead for a higher salary after my internship?

How and when? You can email, call, or better yet, talk in person about your interest in pursuing a position at the company near the end (about 2-3 weeks) of your current internship. Depending on how quickly they can process your application and their needs, they can shoe-you in quickly.

Don't beat around the bush, be clear and direct as to what you want. Let your chapter lead know your intentions and most important of all, the value you bring to the table.

Keep in mind, that my current company is a client of the company I’ll do my internship in, i.e. we are using their product (but not the department I’m working in right now). My company is also using that one technology I’d like to get better with, so I would have a higher value for them.

Your value is unfortunately, based on their expectations for the role you are applying for - you might feel a hundred bucks, but they only budgeted thirty for the role. Look at glassdoor and other people at the position to get a better understanding of what you should ask for, and most important of all - apply to other jobs as well, don't limit yourself to this one company and its technology

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