With a semester ending, fall internships are also coming to a close. Here's how to leave a lasting impression during a hectic time.
1. Send your thank you notes
Be sure to express your gratitude to your internship coordinator with a brief note, and, with the holidays around, possibly a small gift. As always, be specific with your thanks—did you learn a new skill you're excited to use or land a new job based on your experiences? Mention it! Also worth slipping in: your hopes that you may use your boss as a reference. You don't want to forget to ask, and sandwiching it with statements of how far you've come at the company is an easy way to put the reference question out there.
2. Work the room at holiday parties
Free food and booze may be tempting on an intern salary (or lack there-of), but don't let your lasting impression at the company be that of you hogging the canapes at the food table or any drunken shenanigans. Instead, make a point of circulating and connecting with coworkers you've seen in passing and are curious about. Introduce or re-introduce yourself and ask about what your colleagues do. Showing interest is a great way to segue into what you would like to do, and get advice—or maybe even an informational interview.
3. Organize a get-together with other interns
You get along great at work, but don't assume you'll get to see your fellow interns again without putting in some planning. Keep good friends and contacts from slipping through the cracks: plan a night out, and exchange contact information. You never know where your former fellow grunts may end up next, and staying connected may get your foot in the door wherever they are.
4. Take your boss to coffee
Got burning questions about the industry, or your boss's career path? The best way to get them answered during the rush before the holidays may be to get your boss out of the office. Come prepared (since you'll likely only have 20 minutes or so to pick his or her brain) but be yourself, too. Aside from getting great insight from your boss, it's also an opportunity to connect with him or her one more time, and show who you are.
5. Ask for one more project
Instead of doing a slow burn out, why not end your internship on a high note by taking on a special assignment? Your boss will appreciate the initiative, and you'll feel better about your last days by being busy, not just waffling at your desk and counting the days until winter break. Even better: pitch your own project. Take a look around the office (which is likely to be half-empty this time of year anyway) and see what could be useful to have done. As others burn out and stop trying as hard, your enthusiasm will stand out—and make a great final mark on your time at the company.
--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com
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