|  September 14, 2012

5 things to do when your internship ends

Now that fall is officially here, it’s time to reflect on the summer, and tie up some loose ends.  Here are 5 things you should do when your internship ends.

The #1 thing you will gain from an internship is experience.  However, there are a few other things that you can and should take with you for the future: connections, recommendations, and impressive content for your resume & LinkedIn.  Do these few things before the fall gets underway to take the most out of your summer experience.

1. Say “thanks!” – The people you’ve worked with over the summer put a lot of time and energy into making your experience a good one.  From those who recruited you, to those who ran events and programs, to your direct manager… don’t forget to say thank you.  A small treat is always nice but a thank you note will do the trick.  Write something thoughtful to each person who helped make your experience great.  Gratitude goes a long way.

2. Update your resume and LinkedIn – Keep your resume and profile current!  The best time to update your docs is while an experience is fresh in you mind.  As suggested in our “back to school” post make a laundry list of everything you worked on this summer and “star” the most impressive points.  Those are the ones that should make it into your LinkedIn & “general” resume.  Take the other points and save them in a document.  You never know what types of jobs you may apply to in the future and it is smart to have the ability to customize a resume.  While the task of “organized magazine clippings” might not be relevant for a finance job, you may choose to include it if you pursue a PR role down the road.

3. Connect to your new network – You likely worked with a ton of people this past summer, some more closely than others.  While you still remember them and they still remember you, “connect” with them on LinkedIn.  By the time you graduate, that network may be able to help you.  People you worked with at your internship might make career moves to other roles and companies.  Often when filling roles for their teams, people will shuffle through their LinkedIn networks or post that they are looking for someone.  You definitely want to pop up in that type of search as much as possible! It is ok to cast a wide net when adding LinkedIn connections.  You never know who in your network will be able to pass along your resume, put in a good word for you, or hire you in the future!

4. Grab a recommendation – When you apply to future internships or full-time jobs, you’ll be asked to give references.  As time goes by, it may be tougher for those people you’ve worked with to speak to your experience.  If this is something your manager is willing to do, get a recommendation letter from them before too much time passes.  You can present this proactively along with your applications to show how great a job you did.

5. Foster the relationships with your fellow interns – In addition to connecting to your fellow interns on LinkedIn, plan to really keep in touch.  Those who you spent time alongside of this summer will go on to do great and interesting things (as will you).  Having peers with similar career interests will be valuable.  You can bounce ideas off them and share best practices.  You may even work at the desk next to them one day!

The key to making the most out of a summer experience, is continuing to leverage it on an ongoing basis.  Whether you do that by using the skills you gained, fostering the connections you made, or sharing the references you’ve received, your internship can continue to serve you well for years to come.

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