With internships in full swing, completing and finishing your internship strong might not be on your mind yet. However, it is important to plan to end your internship on a strong note just like you began it. Below are five tips for students looking to make the most of the last few weeks of their internship to leave a lasting impression, and conclude their internship experience.
Tip #1: Set your intention by stating your goals clearly and confidently to your manager. Perhaps there is a natural time, like a scheduled performance review, to let your manager know what you would like to do beyond the summer. If not, take the initiative to set time to talk to your manager about what you want beyond the internship. Maybe you are interested in returning to the company in a full-time role or maybe you’d like to pursue something else and keep in touch. Get comfortable saying it in a succinct manner and share with trusted peers. The more you make your intentions known, the easier it is for your manager to support your goals and to garner buy-in and support from your team.
Tip #2: Build your brand by updating your resume and LinkedIn page with your new skills and experiences before the end of the summer. With the excitement of going back to school, it’s likely you won’t think about your resume until it’s needed months from now. Taking the time to update your resume and LinkedIn while your experience is fresh is the best way to ensure your brand is always current. Think about how the goals you may have set in your internship translate to the objective section of your resume.
Tip #3: Build your network by connecting on LinkedIn with everyone you met during your time in the internship. By following tip number one, your team and peers will see your current experiences and know you are proud to share what you’ve learned in the internship. It is always recommended to write a quick note with the LinkedIn connection request. For example, let the requested contact know that you look forward to keeping in touch with them in the future. Also consider building your contact list by exchanging phone numbers and email addresses so you have contact information when you need it in the future.
Tip #4: Show your appreciation to any managers, mentors, coaches, or team members who were instrumental in your success and take the time to let them know you are thankful for their support. After all, you could not have done it without them! Regardless of whether you plan to return to the company or not, show gratitude for the opportunity you were given. A handwritten note or email (custom messages only… no copying and pasting) are always appreciated. Be authentic in your display of thanks through a thoughtful and appreciative touch. Some examples include baking homemade cookies, coffee, flowers, or lunch to show your appreciation.
Tip #5: Keep in touch. As relationships are often the biggest benefit from your internship, follow your team and other peers on social media. LinkedIn is a great way to celebrate work anniversaries while Twitter and Facebook can be used to follow industry trends or successes. As a rule of thumb, I encourage all interns to reach out to their mentors at a minimum of three times per year: at the end of their first month of school, the end of the first semester, and the end of the school year. A quick email, text, or call allows you to keep the relationship going beyond the internship. Your manager, mentor, student program director, or recruiter are all invested in your success and would love to see you take the initiate to reach out and make a connection.