You’ve probably heard the phrase “it’s a small world” with regards to networking—everyone knows someone and you’ll never know who at your internship will be able to recommend you for your next big opportunity or transition. Here are some tips as you complete your summer internship.
Put this at the top of your to-do list! Your internship supervisor and others spent time training you, answering your questions, and providing opportunities for learning and networking. Say thank you in some way, whether it’s spoken, written, or some type of appreciation gift. Even a simple thank you note will be appreciated. Consider taking your supervisor out for lunch or coffee to show your appreciation and have a positive conversation to wrap-up your internship experience.
Tie up loose ends
Leave your workspace in an organized manner. Finish any projects you started and things you’ve been putting off. Leaving things complete and informing your supervisor about your progress on projects can help leave a good impression.
Listen to feedback
Use the positive and constructive feedback you’ve received to reflect and grow professionally from the experience. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself (remember the phrase “you’re your own worst critic? Same rule applies). Accept the ways you can improve in the future and congratulate yourself on your accomplishments.
Collect information and stay in touch
Collect business cards from the people you’ve met during your internship, or if you already have their information, make sure it’s in your address book. It’s appropriate to check-in with your former supervisor or co-workers and update them on your professional activity—just remember that networking is a two-way street!
Talk to others about your future plans
Informing people of your plans helps them to keep an eye out for opportunities that are a good fit for you. People you’ve met and worked with during your internship can help connect you to others in the field, especially if they know what you’re looking for (and don’t have to guess).
Ask for references/letters of recommendation
If you are going to ask someone to be a reference, ask the person if she/he can provide a positive reference for you. If you know an employer is checking your references, let him or her know to expect a call. Letters of recommendation are also positive testaments to your skills, and it’s best to ask now when the experience is fresh in people’s minds. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations, too—they’re an effective way for someone to give a snapshot of your skills and abilities.
Leave on good terms
Never burn bridges. Leaving on good terms means showing appreciation, having a positive attitude, finishing what you’ve started, and saying only positive things about the organization and your co-workers.
Spread the word!
They need an intern, and if not right now, then they will later. You know Georgia College students. One way to give back to your site is to help them find their next awesome intern! Talk to the University Career Center, current students, and faculty members to help them locate another intern. You don’t have to do everything, but just spreading the word can go a long way.
Hint: Send internship descriptions to the Internship Coordinator to get them posted on Career Connection!
Reflect on what you’ve learned
Think about what you’ve accomplished during your internship. When did you feel the most productive? Who did you meet? What would you change, if anything, about your position for the next go-round (whether it’s a job or another internship). Internships teach hands-on skills, but they also teach you about your own work preferences.