Winter semester’s almost over—I hope all you interns out there got some good experience, made connections, and had fun! Internships are wonderful experiences, and I’m sure you got to make the most of yours. But before you hop on your planes, trains, and automobiles to head for home (and home cooking), there are a few things you should make sure to do before your last day on the job.
Make a list of all your projects
Whether you were working on one big thing or you had irons in lots of fires, take a few minutes to write out all the projects you had a hand in while at your internship. You’ll need it for when you update your resume and, trust me, it’s so much easier to remember what you’re doing when you’re actually doing it rather than weeks (or months) later. Offer to send the list to your supervisors, particularly if you plan on using them as references in your future job hunt—it will help them to speak specifically to your duties and skills. I’m sure they’re well prepared to tell your future employers how great you are—but you can help them explain why. It can also explain where you left off on certain projects, which will be a big help for the intern who will pick it up after you.
Add everyone on LinkedIn
Just in case you didn’t do this at the start of your semester, snag as many connections online as you can. You’ll be able to keep up with how they and the company are doing, and you’ll stay on the individual person’s radar—this way, you can start eliminating the “out of sight, out of mind” component of networking from the get-go.
Speaking of networking and keeping in touch, make plans with someone from your internship outside of the office. Good starts would be the people that you like the best, and people who are well-connected—the first because it’s nice to have friends and the second because networking is a key part of interning. Invite them out to coffee or for a drink (21+ interns only!)—on a specific day after you leave your internship, not just some time in general. Too often “let’s get coffee sometime” turns into never seeing that person again. It’s not anybody’s fault, it just happens—people get busy, life’s a highway, all that. So put something on the calendar with your favorite supervisor or one of your fellow interns and keep that connection alive.
Check in with an exit interview
Whether formal or informal, it’s a good idea to sit down with your supervisors to chat about the work you’ve done and the progress you’ve made. Find out what you excelled at, but also make sure to talk about your weaknesses. Part of interning is finding out what parts of your desired field you may need more knowledge about or practice in. Don’t forget to take notes so you can refer to any advice they give as you as you continue your job search (Not to mention—fingers crossed—if you get a job offer, you’ll be able to write down all the critical info.).
Say thank you
This one’s simple—tell your coworkers and supervisors how much this experience meant to you. Definitely reach out to everyone on your last day, but, to go the extra mile, drop a few handwritten thank-you notes on the desks of the people who really made your internship a semester to remember. It’s a classy move and one that the receiver will remember fondly—hopefully, come hiring time!
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