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Ending Your Internship on the Right Note

May 2, 2013

As you wrap up classes for the semester, you may also be wrapping up your internship.  If all has gone well, you were busy learning, doing, and connecting. But how you leave has a big impact on how you are remembered. Don’t lose the great momentum- here are a few to-do’s as you approach your last day.

Organize Your Projects

Projects often don’t work on a semester schedule like your internship does. Take time to make sure you leave things in a good place – finish projects when possible, or leave detailed notes and organized files for the next person if there is still work to be done.  Your boss, coworkers, and successors will appreciate your professionalism!

Debrief

Even if your supervisor does not initiate it, see if you can set up an ‘exit interview’. This will give you a chance to recap what you worked on and solicit feedback about how you did.  It’s also a great chance to address any logistics that remain, including: can I list you as a reference in the future? I’m really proud of my work on ___. Would you allow me to use it in my portfolio? And finally…

Ask for a Job

If you enjoyed the experience, did great work, and want to continue your work with them, it’s ok to let your supervisor know. Yes, it will feel awkward. But if you don’t say it, they might not know. Try, “this has been a great experience and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of such a dynamic and professional team. I’m graduating in a few weeks – do you expect to have any job openings in the near future?” Don’t be offended if the answer is no- many of the companies our students work for are small and have very finite hiring needs. But if they know you’re interested they can keep an eye out for new openings that might be a fit.

Stay in Touch

Think about your strategy for staying in touch with your coworkers, since they can become powerful networking contacts. Make sure you keep email addresses for everyone, and brainstorm some ways to stay on their radar. Adding them as LinkedIn contacts is a great start.  Find specific reasons to check in periodically- resume or portfolio feedback, conferences and events.

Update Your Resume

You will quickly forget the great things you did, so update your resume immediately with projects, new skills and accomplishments.

Reflect

Ok, take a week to sleep in and then get moving. What next? Did you love the internship? Why? Was it awful? What made it awful? Every experience, good or bad, teaches us something about where we need to be. Think about other opportunities you can pursue to further improve your qualifications. Come and see us if you need someone to bounce ideas off of. We’re here all summer.

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