by Gabi Bourn – Director, Production Delivery at WundermanThompson Data
As the summer comes to an end and interns are finishing up their summer internships, many of them are focused on heading back to school in the fall and maybe getting in a quick vacation before class starts. What many do not realize is that how they end an internship is perhaps even more important than how they start it. Here are four things interns must do to leave a lasting impression and set themselves up for success down the road.
In my years of working with interns, I’ve noticed that in the last week or two of an internship, they tend to slack off a little. This is a big no-no. The last few weeks leaves a lasting impression and is often when employers are making their hiring decisions. In a ten-week summer internship, if you do not give it your all for the entire time, you are throwing away valuable opportunities that can have a lasting impact on your career. You don’t want to be remembered as someone who they thought was great, but then ended up not making the cut because you got comfortable and lazy.
Even if you do not want to work at the company long-term, you are building relationships with people who could serve as potential mentors or provide job references for you in the future. Maybe you’ve not done your best for most of the summer. You always have an opportunity to change and finish strong. I’ve worked with several interns who started off a little weak, adjusted based on feedback and were able to finish strong. The goal is too memorable for all the right reasons!
Update Your Resume
In the last few weeks of your internship, you should work on updating your resume to reflect your new job experience and all the skills you gained through the experience. Don’t wait until you get busy with school and begin to forget what you learned. Get your resume as perfect as you can, and then ask your Manager or HR Representative for feedback. This is your chance to have someone proof-read and provide feedback. For example, maybe you used a tool that you added to your resume that ended up being a proprietary software and your manager can help you better reflect that on your resume. Try to talk out some of the work you did or the skills you learned during your internship to help prepare you for an interview where you would need to explain your experience.
While you are still in the office, set up a quick meeting with your Manager and/or HR Representative. This is your chance to ask them questions to help you succeed. Be courageous with your questions. They may not answer every question, but you can at least ask them. Here are some examples of what you can ask:
- Can you give me some feedback on how I did as an intern? What can I improve upon in the future?
- During the hiring process, what stood out to you and helped me get the internship? Were there any red flags?
- Do you think there will be any jobs available when I graduate?
If you do not ask, you will not know. Sometimes it helps just to ask for a job and to have an open and clear conversation about whether the company is somewhere you would like to work full-time post-graduation. Make your goals clear.
Write a Thank You Note
I always say that an internship is a long interview. At the end of an interview, you should send thank-you notes to each of the interviewers. The same goes for the end of an internship. You should send thank-you notes to your manager, mentor, and anyone else you worked closely with. Be sure to say goodbye to everyone you have worked with. It is helpful for everyone to have that closure and know that it is the end of your time there instead of you just disappearing one day.
Over the course of the internship, you have worked closely with your manager. They have been patient to teach you many things and maybe they have even put their own neck out on the line to help you gain a certain experience. You probably don’t even know how much they have done to help give you a great experience. A thoughtful thank you note can mean so much. Whether or not you are looking to work at the company post-graduation, a thank you note is a polite and smart thing to do to help strengthen your relationships with the individuals within the organization.
Originally posted on LinkedIn