2You’re about to finish your internship, congratulations! At this point, you might be wondering: what should I do now? This is a perfectly reasonable and necessary question to ask. How you carry yourself at this time will have future implications. It will determine your relationship with your former supervisors and coworkers. It will define your credibility within the organization. It has the potential to create new opportunities down the road.
The end of your internship is equally as significant as the beginning, if not more.
Your intention is to leave your internship gracefully. You will want to create a lasting impression. You’re probably wondering: How do I do that? Where do I even start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve drafted a list of action items to guide you through this phase.
1- Demonstrate character
Yes, your internship is coming to a close but this is not to be mistaken for the end of your responsibilities. The worst thing you can do now is stop caring. It’s noticeable. Your managers and coworkers will develop negative impressions. You don’t want to leave them with that image especially after having invested your time and energy. You still have projects you are a part of and it’s your obligation to continue giving it your best.
During this time, make sure to give your work the same value as in the beginning of your internship: show up on time everyday, provide valuable input in meetings, and fulfill your project requirements. It’s important to take ownership of your individual assignments and finish them without compromising the quality of your work. Demonstrate what you’ve gained from your internship by taking initiative showing everyone you’re ready for the real deal.
2- Reflect on your experience
While everything is still fresh in your mind, you’ll be able to engage in mindful thinking. Ask yourself what did I gain from this internship? Examine the positives and negatives to evaluate your overall experience. Is there anything you would have done differently? Is there anything new you’ve learned about yourself? This type of introspection is crucial for personal growth and developing a sense of direction.
Making lists can be an effective way of summarizing your feelings and learnings during your internship experience. You can write it out in point form use this as a form of expression.
3- Have conversations with your boss
Ask for a performance reviews
A performance review should be scheduled nearing the end of your internship. This is the meeting where your supervisor will discuss your performance. Your manager will tell you what went well. It’s important to take note of the feedback and ask your supervisor how you can improve for the future. You asking for help also shows your openness to feedback and willingness to be coached. These are desirable mindsets that will serve you in future roles allowing you to engage in healthy conversations with future employers.
If there is no meeting on the calendar, send an email to your manager to schedule a performance review. Not only does this show your ability to take initiative, but it also expresses that you care about your work; who better to notice it than your supervisor.
Provide your feedback
During your meeting with your manager, feel free to share your feedback on the role. Talk about the challenges of the position and suggest solutions to implement for future interns. This is such a meaningful act on your part. You are showing that you have the organization’s best interest at heart. You can also offer to train anyone who will take on your responsibilities. It’s another way to demonstrate your dedication to the team.
Secure your references
Ask your manager if they will be a reference for future opportunities. A good time to ask this would be during your performance review. In addition, ask colleagues with whom you collaborated with if they are willing to be referenced as well. This way, you will clearly know if you can approach them down the road and provide their contact information for future reference checks.
4- Practice formality and gratitude
This is an important time to show your appreciation for your supervisor and team members. Write an email to the team expressing gratitude for having the opportunity to share space with your coworkers for the past few months. Let everyone know what the internship meant to you and that you intend on staying in touch.
Also, write an individual email to your supervisor to thank them for mentoring your during this time. Feel free to express what experiences you found most valuable. For inspiration, take a look at our templates.
5- Connect with the team on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a networking platform where you can connect with professionals all over the world. By now, you’ve probably added your colleagues on LinkedIn. If you haven’t connected with your colleagues yet, now is also a great time to do that. Sending an invitation to connect is an evident way to show your interest in staying in touch.
There are many benefits of staying in touch on LinkedIn. For starters, your connections may reach out to you when there are professional opportunities that match your abilities. Your coworkers have already collaborated with you and have a pretty good understanding of your work ethic. Your connections may also know other people who are looking to hire.
6- Share your experience
If you have not created your first post on LinkedIn yet, this could be your chance. Write about your interning experience. You can elaborate on what you’ve learned, what you’ve enjoyed working on, or talk about relationships you’ve built. This can serve as another outlet to express gratitude or appreciation for having the opportunity to intern or you can also write about things you will miss.
Sharing your experience on LinkedIn provides a lot of value: you’re recognizing the organization and its employees, you’re sharing your feedback with prospective interns, you’re reflecting on your internship through writing. Let’s not forget that you’re also actively participating on a professional platform and that can help you get noticed by other employers or recruiters. Be sure to tag the employer on LinkedIn. You may also tag your coworkers or supervisors.
7- Update Your resume and LinkedIn profile
Have you added your internship experience to your resume and LinkedIn? On your resume, highlight your accomplishments use quantifiables to emphasize the impact you provided. Mention the responsibilities you were given and the projects you handled. You will also want to identify your knowledge of new systems or technical programs.
Ask your colleagues and supervisors to endorse your skills on LinkedIn
You can add the new skills you’ve learned on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure to obtain endorsements for your listed skills on LinkedIn before leaving your role. You can ask your team members and supervisors to endorse you for your top 5 skills, who better to ask than colleagues who have witnessed you in action.
Ask your colleagues and supervisors to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn
Remember the time when you were told to obtain a reference letter from your manager? In the modern day, that has transitioned to getting a recommendation on LinkedIn. The recommendation feature on LinkedIn allows your profile visitors to read testimonials from your supervisors and colleagues. Make sure you ask for a recommendation specifically on LinkedIn. The benefit of obtaining a review on LinkedIn is that it may be easier and faster for your manager to produce. The recommendation tends to be shorter in words and your supervisor will highlight your accomplishments and vouch for your credibility. Think about how powerful it is to have a review of your work directly available on your profile.
8- Let the company know that you have their best interest
You can let your manager know that you are open to working with them again in the future if that is the case. Let them know that they can reach out to you if they need help with anything. In addition, you can express that you would be happy to recommend qualified applicants for other roles they are looking to fill. Let them know that you can write them a review on Glassdoor to talk about your positive experiences. This way you are showing the organization that you have their best interest at heart.
We hope these 8 action items help you navigate the end of your internship experience. Remember, your end goal is to make a lasting impression and we want to make sure you have these practical ways of doing so. For more career tips and tricks, book a coaching session with a career coach here.