After many weeks of challenging (and enjoyable) work, your internship is coming to a close! The hard part is over - you’ve completed the tasks you were assigned, made valuable connections and developed a stronger understanding of the industry you work in. But, while you will often receive a lot of advice on how to be successful during your internship, no one ever really tells you how to tie it all together and end things on the right foot. Finishing your internship should be taken just as seriously as how you start it. You can only make a first impression once, but your lasting impression is just that, a lasting one. Follow the tips below to leave a positive imprint on your organization and colleagues.
Showcase/record your work
Make sure people know how you contributed - even the small things that you may think insignificant. sk for the chance to present an overview of all the work you did over the summer to your colleagues. This experience is great for developing public speaking skills and helps you to identify what the most important and interesting projects you worked on were. If a formal presentation is not possible, draft up an email or a one-pager outlining your contributions and share with your manager and other colleagues. This is helpful for a number of reasons - first, you’ll remind everyone you worked with of all your accomplishments, and second, you now have a great list to reference when you are adding bullets to your resume or LinkedIn profile! Collect contact Info and keep in touch!
While the skills you built during your internship are important, so are the relationships you’ve developed. Before you leave, determine who you want to stay in touch with, and the best medium for contacting them. For the majority of your colleagues, this will be LinkedIn or an email address. Others that you feel closer to might warrant a cell phone number or Instagram follow. Once you’ve collected the contact information don’t let it sit - make an effort to keep in touch! This doesn’t have to be excessive, maybe 2 or 3 updates during the year on how you’re doing, or specific things you were excited about. The holidays are a great time to send a small post as is the end of the school year. Even though you might not always get a reply, know that former colleagues enjoy seeing what you’re up to and that you’re doing well. Interns bring a certain energy and excitement to the workplace that full-time workers really appreciate. (*note: if you are adding colleagues on social media, be mindful of your behavior and how you represent yourself online.)
Craft your resume bullets
Remember when we suggested you showcase and record your work? This wasn’t just for your coworkers. Not only should your colleagues know what you contributed, but recruiters need to see it on your resume. The internship is not just about the value you offered the organization, but the skills and lessons you walked away with. While you can’t always go into full detail due to confidentiality restraints from your organization, there are ways to craft excellent bullets without revealing proprietary information. Sitting down with a colleague that worked closely with you on projects is one of the most natural ways to craft strong bullets. (They also keep you from being too humble with your accomplishments!) When in doubt, reach out to your manager once you have crafted the bullets to ensure that they comply with company policy. An internship is meant to help you grow and increase your credibility as a candidate - don’t let the opportunity go to waste. Be a Guide
Is there a new intern that will fill your role once you leave? Or maybe a new full-time employee joining your team and picking up some of your former responsibilities? A great way to add value to your organization is clearly documenting the systems and processes you used in your role. Training a new person takes a lot of time and resources - anything you can do to make this process easier on your team will be much appreciated. Sometimes this might mean a walkthrough document for pulling a certain report or facilitating a complicated process. Other times it might be a list of words used by your organization or some key cultural nuances that often stump new joiners. Since you have the most recent experience of being a newcomer to the company, you have the unique ability to best support future new joiners and ease their transition. Be the guide you wish you had when you started.
Give a Proper Goodbye
You never know whether or not you will return to a company. If you’re lucky, your organization was incredible and you’re hopeful for the opportunity to come back as a full time employee. Or maybe you found that it wasn’t the right fit and don’t want to return. Regardless, some aspect of the experience had an impact on you. Hopefully there were people that helped you to grow professionally and see the world differently. You should tell them about the impact they had and make sure they’re aware of their influence. If you feel inspired, giving a hand-written thank you note or thoughtfully crafted email is a great touch. And don’t forget to say goodbye to your workspace - whether it was a beautiful high rise or dingy cubicle, it’s worth taking a walk-around and acknowledging what you will (or won’t) miss. The things we long for once we leave help to drive us towards our ideal environment. Figure out what those things are and use it to drive your search as you move forward.