It’s the time of year when many students are wrapping up their internships and preparing to return to school. As my summer with Jobfully wraps up, I’ve been thinking about the best way to leave an internship. As you depart, you need to position yourself for your future, and you want leave your employer with a very positive impression of you.
All About You
Before you leave your internship, you should make a list of all of your accomplishments during your time there. Ideally, you were tracking this information throughout the internship, but if not, now is the time to make sure you document it.
Use the list to revise your resume and update your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you’ve included your internship and listed your key accomplishments. Ask your colleagues including your manager and fellow interns to join your professional network. Now is the perfect time to ask supervisors for LinkedIn recommendations. Also ask your supervisor if he or she will act as a reference for you when you are applying for jobs.
Make sure you know the best way to contact your supervisors or colleagues. Make a note on your calendar to reach out to them in the future. Keeping in touch with your network is an important aspect of growing it.
Review your original internship goals.
At the beginning of your internship, you set some personal and company goals. Reflect on these goals: How did they change? Which goals did you meet? Exceed? If you failed to meet a goal, why was that? How could you change it in the future? After some thought, set up a meeting with your supervisor to discuss your experience. Thank your supervisor for the internship and take the opportunity to ask for feedback about your performance as well as advice for moving forward. Be sure your supervisor is aware of your career plans and ask for his or her support in finding a job.
Finally, make a plan going forward. If there is an opportunity for employment at your current company, make sure you understand their post-internship hiring process. If there is not an opportunity for employment at the company, determine your best course of action. If you like the area, take the opportunity to visit local companies, set up informational interviews, or network with local companies through coworkers, neighbors, or other interns.
Exiting the Company
Before you leave, there are also a few things you should do for the benefit of your company and colleagues. First, offer to leave documentation for future interns or workers who may pick up any unfinished projects. Make sure that future interns, employees, and your manager can get in touch with you with questions. Be gracious and professional about future contact from the company, even if you didn’t get a job offer you were hoping for.
Second, don’t forget to say good-bye. Let your colleagues know that you are leaving and thank them for the experience. If there is someone you can’t see before you go, send an email or note thanking them and saying good-bye, but doing so in person always leaves a better impression. In bigger companies, you may find leaving a thank you note and small treat in the breakroom is the most efficient method of both thanking everyone for the experience and making a final, strong impression.