Once upon a time, this small town girl loaded up a Honda Civic and drove to the Big Apple, for a summer of interning. Unsure of what the summer would entail, the small town girl headed into Macmillan Learning ready to learn as much as possible about publishing, communications, working in the real world, and surviving adulthood in just a few short weeks.
Now that those short weeks have come to a close, and the small town girl is back in her small town world, it’s time to reflect on this summer in the concrete jungle.
Whether your internship took you far from home or just around the corner, the end of an internship means the end of a very important learning experience, and should be remembered as such. Below are some tips to ensure that you make your last few days of your internship as worthwhile as possible.
1) Say thank you
Your mom was right: a hand written thank you note can go a long way. They are simple, better than the electronic equivalent, and don’t take too much time to complete. Write one for everyone that made an impact on you during your relationship, whether it be your boss, your work friends, or even the CEO of the company. Taking the extra step demonstrates your dedication and appreciation for the opportunity, and will leave you in good graces with the company. For those work friends and bosses that made a lasting impression on you and who took time from their daily job to guide you, instruct you, or include you in the bigger picture, a small gift is more than appropriate. Whether it be a box of chocolates or some flowers, a small gift will go a long way, and make everyone’s day a lot better.
2) Reach out to the CEO
Whether the CEO stayed in their office for most of your time at the company, or was a vital part of your day to day life in the office, sending a quick note to the CEO is a simple task that can go a long way. Not only is it helpful to them to discuss your experience at the company, but also shows that you aren’t afraid to work with coworkers of all different levels.
3) Request feedback
Also known as an exit interview, getting feedback about your work performance during your internship is very beneficial to your career process. Carve out some time to sit down with your boss or supervisor, and ask about your performance on the job. What did you do right? What can you improve on? What kinds of things should you keep in mind for your future study or work experience? Any information they can give you will help you out in the long run and better prepare you for future career endeavors.
4) Plan for the future
What’s next? Whether it be another year of classes, or hopping straight into another internship, or even a job, start to plan for the future. How will this experience affect your future? How has it impacted your career path? What have you learned that you can speak to in future interview? Answer those questions for yourself and for the next interviewer, because they will certainly be asking you!
5) Trade contact information
One of the biggest goals of any internship is to network, so make sure you do it! Trade contact information with coworkers and superiors. Make sure to connect with everyone you can on LinkedIn, and trade business cards if you have them. I recently wrote thank you cards to my coworkers at Macmillan Learning, and I slipped my business card into the envelope with the card. It was a huge success and several of my coworkers commented on how creative and business savvy it was. Leave your mark with the company and your coworkers, because making connections and networking will help you when it comes to joining the workforce after college.
6) Use the contact information
It’s all fine and good to trade the contact information, but make sure you use it! Check in from time to time and make sure you keep up with former co-workers from time to time. Otherwise, it is useless to get the information in the first place. Around the holidays, send a nice email to your boss and check in with the company and their recent adventures. This will keep you up to date on the company and make sure you are remembered in the office.
7) Ask for a reference
Although LinkedIn connections and business cards are great, nothing is quite as good as a written letter of recommendation or letter of reference. Not only is it impressive because you have gained a positive relationship with your employer, but it is equally impressive because your employer took the time to write your reference.
8) Finish strong
After a long summer of hard work, it may begin to feel easy to slack off towards the end. Make sure you do not do this! Finish strong and work hard until the very end, it will go a long way with the executives of the company.
Take a moment in your final days to reflect and look back on your experience. What was your favorite or least favorite part of the internship? What can you improve on for your next internship experience? Taking a moment to look back on these moments will only help you in your future experiences.
10) Stay positive
If you’re like me, your coworkers became some of your greatest friends during your internship. That being said, leaving them can be a little tough to say the least. Although your head might be full of worry and fear of not seeing them again, stay positive. They were all interns once, and understand how you feel. This is not the end of the journey, but rather the beginning.
When finishing your summer internship, look to these tips to make the most of your goodbyes, and leave a lasting impression on the company that made you a part of their team.