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Shawna Scott - 8/8/2019

So, your internship is coming to an end. Now what? The choices you make next can determine the doors that will open for you for years to come, so stay focused during these last few weeks and follow these steps.

  1. Save the partying for after your last day. Keep showing up on time and doing your best work!
  2. Get feedback. Some internships have a formal review process at the end, but others may not. Make an appointment with your supervisor to go over what they think you did well and how you can improve. Tell them your career goals, ask them for advice, and make sure to thank them for their mentorship. (Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule it — supervisors can have super busy calendars, and you don’t want to miss your chance to talk face-to-face.)
  3. Get references. Ask for a letter of recommendation from at least two of the key people you worked for. Make sure you have their current contact info, too.
  4. If you hope to land a job with the company, don’t be afraid to say so say so! It can be as simple as asking, “Do you have any long-term employment opportunities in this area?” Talk about how passionate you are about the company, your successes as an intern, and how you could contribute to the organization moving forward. Even if they don’t have any openings at the moment, it will help them remember you if something does open up.
  5. If you’re doing the internship for academic credit, make sure you have any necessary documentation you’ll need from your employer to get the credit.
  6. If applicable, get hard copies of projects you did or copy the digital files to a USB drive to add to your portfolio. (Be careful – do NOT copy over any sensitive/private company information or intellectual property. Don’t claim others’ work as your own, either. If a project was a collaborative effort, jot down what role you played in the finished work and make sure to note that in your portfolio.)
  7. For a personal touch, leave handwritten thank-yous for your supervisor(s) at the end of your last day. This doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming endeavor! Pick up a pack of notecards with envelopes at a dollar store and write three or four lines to each person.
  8. If you didn’t have a good experience, remain gracious and professional. You don’t want to burn bridges! (However, if there was a serious issue you encountered that makes you worried for the safety or wellbeing of future interns, take your concern to HR if applicable and/or let your college career center or college advisor know.)
  9. If you decided that the field you’ve been interning in is not for you, your work was still worthwhile! Aren’t you glad you found that out now instead of investing years and years in a career? Brainstorm how the skills you learned at this internship could apply to other fields you’re interested in, and make an appointment with your career center or college advisor to discuss what steps to take next.
  10. While the experience is fresh in your mind, update your portfolio, resume and LinkedIn profile. What was the start and end date of your internship? What were your primary responsibilities? Take it one step further and jot down notes on what you learned, not just what tasks you performed. What were some of the major projects you contributed to? Do you have access to data-driven results of any of your work? (“Through targeted marketing campaign, grew social media audience 3x in two months,” for example.) These details can make great material for cover letters in which you need to expand on the experience listed in your resume.

Congratulations, your internship is complete! Armed with your work experience, business connections, references, and portfolio projects, you’re ready to take on the world — whether that means heading back to class to finish up your degree, or graduating and jumping into the job market.