By: Shannon Looney, July 19th 2018
Due to the very nature of an internship, you’ll most likely enter into your placement with an end date already in place. After putting so much effort into this experience - taking initiative day-to-day, involving yourself with the office culture, completing projects, impressing your team and more, you’ll want to ensure that you end your time with a company on the highest of notes. As we have covered on previous blog posts - ‘The 5 Bees to a Successful Internship’ and ‘How to Make the Most of Your Internship’ - getting the most out of your internship depends on your attitude before, during and after it. Below are five tips to how you can end your internship in the strongest way possible and leave a lasting impression!
1. Performance Review
In most cases, your supervisor will schedule an exit interview to review your conduct and achievements, and provide constructive criticism. If they don’t, take the initiative and schedule one yourself! Reviewing your performance is a fantastic opportunity to grow as a professional and learn what needs improving in the future. Hopefully you’ll hear some praise too!
It’s always wise to have some questions prepared for this sort of conversation. Are there qualities you possess (or not) that you should focus on and improve? Are there areas of the business that you would do better than in than others? What did you do well, and how can you continue building on that success?
These questions will be unique to you and your experience, and each answer should help you to prepare for whatever you have planned next.
2. Tie Up Loose Ends
Another important stage to complete before the end of your internship is to finish up any assigned projects - whether that is completing a blog post, distributing a spreadsheet or even organizing the filing cabinet! Try not to leave any tasks unfinished during an internship. Perfecting time-management and organizational skills during your internship, should mean that wrapping up assignments is a breeze!
If necessary, also remember to ask your supervisor if the work you produced during your internship can be added to your portfolio. During my first internship I was unable to use a majority of my writing and graphic design work because it wouldn’t be released for several months. However, your projects can be extremely useful in the future so it doesn’t hurt to ask!
3. Thank the team
Expressing your appreciation for the opportunity with a company is a great way to end the professional experience on a positive note. Although it seems like a simple step, some interns forget to do this and miss out on a great opportunity to keep an open line of communication between yourself, your supervisor and other employees in the company.
Any professional experience should be a learning opportunity and that is worth being thankful for. Even if the tasks had seemed menial, the internship wasn’t what you expected, or you realized that that is not the right industry for you, you’ll have come away with something useful. Whether you are affirming or ruling out what you experienced as the right fit for you, you are carving your own path! Thus, it’s always a nice touch to write or email a thank you note to those at the company who helped you and/or would be valuable contacts moving forward.
4. Stay in Touch
As I wrote above, writing or emailing a thank you note serves to keep an open line of communication with your colleagues. This is important for the future. Whether you are going back to university or are now looking for a full-time job, the employees and supervisors from your internship are connections that should form the basis of your professional network moving forward.
It’s possible that they have a job opening that because you have experience with the company makes you the strongest candidate or they have connections within the industry that will help your resume climb to the top. Even if it is not for a job opportunity but more for a letter of recommendation staying in touch makes a recommendation more relevant and up to date for your future opportunities. Having someone in the professional world vouch for your performance is extremely valuable!
5. Update your Resume
Now that the internship has finished up be sure to update your resume and LinkedIn with your hard work and professional experience. Be sure to do this sooner rather than later because your accomplishments and experience of the internship will be fresher in your mind. Having an updated resume means it will always be ready for when you apply to your next job opportunity.
Additionally, if there were any projects that you completed and had permission to publicize on your own platforms, do that! LinkedIn, personal blogs, or online portfolio builders are a great source to showcase writing, video, photography, etc! Recruiters and employers often find it necessary to see your work prior to an interview, so making it accessible will make it easier for those who are looking at candidates like yourself!
All in all you should want to end any experience on a positive note. Because of that your benefits from the internship will carry on with you as you pursue whatever you set your mind to. Following the tips above you’ll be sure to leave any internship with a stronger chance of standing out in your future job search!