You were nervous on your first day. You arrived, met people, and started to get the lay of the land. Now after meetings, projects, skill-building, and shadowing, your summer internship is about to end. Sad face. How do you finish strong? Do more than just exit by following the tips below.
1. Stop but Don’t Drop
- Your new colleagues and supervisor will still be working long after you are gone. You may be at your stopping point with projects or simply with your own deadline for needing to return to school. However, do not just drop the work you are doing at your internship. Communicate with your supervisor and team mates about where projects stand.
2. Feedback, feedback, feedback!
- How can you grow if you do not understand your strengths and weaknesses from an outsider’s perspective? Set up a time with your supervisor to review your report of accomplishments and talk to them about what they think you should work on in future internships, jobs, or classes. In addition, use this feedback meeting to ask for their career advice and talk about your future goals.
- These people just spent their time supervising you and mentoring you. Do you simply say ‘Peace Out!’ or ‘Sayonara!’? Nope. Whether you enjoyed your internship or not, it is important to leave on a positive note (pun intended) and show professionalism by writing thank you notes. Use letter format with a salutation, body, and closing and make sure to share appreciation, what you learned about the profession or yourself from the experience.
4. Update Your Search Materials
- If you were rocking out your internship and have a good relationship with your boss and team, this is the perfect time to ask if they are willing to be a positive reference in the future. They may also be willing to write a short recommendation for you on LinkedIn. Accomplishing these updates while you are still at the internship helps, because the information will be fresh in your mind. You can also have your supervisor look over your resume to make sure you included everything.
5. Connect the Dots and the People
- Just because your internship is over, does not mean the connection has to end. Take the time to connect with colleagues on LinkedIn. If you really loved your internship, give the organization some social media love on Facebook and/or Twitter and tell your friends! Once you are pinged, send them an update about how you are doing. It could be that a unit in one of your classes related to your internship, or you could tell them your next career steps.
Written by: Jenny Noyce, Career Advisor & Experiential Education Manager